Once upon a time people laughed at the idea of cultural tourism in Queensland. But times have changed and now people visit Queensland from all over the world for the events on our arts and cultural calendar.
A case in point is Opera Australia’s latest production of The Ring Cycle, a national and international event happening throughout December at QPAC in Brisbane.
Arts luminaries such as the late Barry Humphries praised Brisbane’s cultural complex as the country’s most impressive.
Cultural tourism occurs, however, across Queensland and each year we have amazing events across the state including Opera Queensland’s Festival of Outback Opera, QLD Music Trails, The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville, which attracts visitors from all over the world.
Now the State Government has announced a new fund to support the growth of impactful arts and cultural events in communities across Queensland.
It is hoped the Grow Cultural Tourism Fund will strengthen the state’s reputation as a global arts and cultural tourism destination and grow a state-wide calendar of arts and cultural tourism events and programming that activates local communities ahead of the 2032 Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Recognising that cultural tourism delivers important economic outcomes for Queensland, the Grow Cultural Tourism Fund will turbo charge the growth of local creative communities and share the state’s unique and ancient stories, identities and cultures with locals and visitors to Queensland.
Queensland events and festivals can apply for matched funding to grow their cultural tourism capacity across three streams. With grants of up to $30,000 to support feasibility studies for new events, up to $50,000 available for established non-arts events that have potential to grow their cultural tourism experiences through local arts programming, or up to $80,000 to increase the scale and impact of established arts and cultural events.
In its first round, the Grow Cultural Tourism Fund will focus on supporting events outside South East Queensland.
The Grow Cultural Tourism Fund is delivered through Grow 2022-2026, with $50 million investment over four years. That’s part of Creative Together 2020-2030, the State Government’s 10-year roadmap for arts, culture and creativity in Queensland. It is also supporting the delivery of Towards Tourism 2032 and its vision for Queensland to be Australia’s destination of choice for domestic and global visitors.
Arts Minister Leeanne Enoch says cultural tourists stay longer and spend more and that the new funding would be “focused on growing a state-wide calendar of arts and cultural events and programming as an investment in our regional communities and to strengthen Queensland’s reputation for rich cultural tourism experiences”.
“As we prepare for the social and economic opportunities of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, it is vital that we invest in arts and cultural tourism so the entire state can benefit from the legacy that the Games will deliver,” Enoch says.
Arts industry figures support the idea enthusiastically. People like Bill Hauritz, founder of the internationally renowned Woodford Folk Festival.
“It’s great to see regional Queensland being supported to benefit from the 2032 Olympics, especially in the arts,” Hauritz says “Regional centres have a lot to offer and have produced so many great artists over the years – we’ve noticed that at Woodford. I think Arts Queensland is definitely on the right track here.”
Tourism minister Stirling Hinchliffe says “quality and engaging arts events are a proven way of encouraging Queenslanders and interstate visitors to explore new destinations and tourism experiences that may not have previously been on travel bucket lists”.
Applications for the current round of funding for the Grow Cultural Tourism Fund close on February 29; arts.qld.gov.au/aq-funding
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