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New data reveals value of tourism to the Whitsundays economy

THE growing importance of the tourism industry as a cornerstone of the Whitsunday economy has been revealed in new data released this month.

Tourism Research Australia's latest data for the year ending June 2016, showed year-on-year growth in gross regional product and tourism employment in nine tourism destinations across Queensland.

Tourism and Major Events Minister Kate Jones said Regional Tourism Satellite Accounts 2015-16 data showed more than 15% of people on the Gold Coast, in Tropical North Queensland and the Whitsundays were employed in the tourism industry.

"Tourism continues to make a huge economic contribution to gross regional product across Queensland,” she said.

"Last financial year, the industry generated $8.1 billion for Brisbane's local economy, $5 billion for the Gold Coast and $2.5 billion for Tropical North Queensland,” Ms Jones said.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Whitsundays

"In the Whitsundays, tourism represents more than 20% of the region's gross regional product while on the Sunshine Coast, the industry makes up nearly 15 per cent of the gross regional product.

"It also continues to employ tens of thousands of Queenslanders, with more than 15% of people in the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Tropical North Queensland and Whitsundays' regions employed in the industry.”

Ms Jones said the tourism industry was vital to Queensland's economy, contributing $25 billion to the state and employing 225,000 people last financial year.

"Tourism is the lifeblood of many regional communities, employing more people than the mining and agriculture, forestry and fishing industries combined,” she said.

"This data is proof that tourism and events have a huge impact on Queensland's economy but the industry also contributes greatly to the state's culture, lifestyle and livability.”