Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb will meet with tourism stakeholders in Cairns today to discuss the role international investment can play in developing associated infrastructure opportunities in the region.

Hosted by Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch, Mr Robb will take part in a tourism, trade and investment roundtable, involving representatives from Cairns Regional Council and the Chamber of Commerce, as well as stakeholders from Cairns Airport, Advance Cairns and tourism bodies.

As the minister responsible for tourism, Mr Robb said Cairns’ reputation as a world-renowned tourist destination, combined with the increasing number of holiday-makers heading to Australia from Asia, means there’s significant potential to grow the tourist and hospitality economy of the area.

“The number of Chinese setting-off on an international holiday is expected to reach 200 million by 2020; Cairns is perfectly placed to capture its share of this growth, particularly with the direct flights to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Guangzhou,” Mr Robb said.

“I understand overall passenger numbers transiting through Cairns Airport are on the rise so the growth opportunities are certainly there, but it will require substantial new investment in order to realise this potential.”

Mr Robb said the region’s tropical location is an invaluable selling-point for the area, adding there’s great scope for ecotourism destinations and for enterprises owned and managed by Indigenous peoples.

“The creation of the $20 million Mossman Gorge cultural centre by the indigenous Land Corporation is a remarkable example of Indigenous communities in the north leveraging tourism to promote their culture and make economic gains,” Mr Robb said.

“I will be hosting a Northern Investment Forum in Darwin later this year, which aims to attract major investors from around the world. Tourism and hospitality infrastructure will be a key element of what we intend to showcase to investors, but we need investment-ready projects to present them with, which is what I will be discussing at the roundtable today.”

Mr Entsch said he welcomed the opportunity to have Minister Robb in the region to meet with tourism and industry leaders.

“I’ve also asked the Minister to provide an update in relation to the successful Free Trade Agreements with Japan, Korea and China that he has helped to conclude in recent times,” Mr Entsch said.

“The Agreements have helped create a policy framework that entices foreign investment and drives development across the country – creating jobs and boosting local economies.

“I look forward to finding out more about these, and the opportunities they present for businesses in Far North Queensland and Northern Australia.”

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