The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) Economic Development Programme launched the third phase of its Regional Economic Investment Strategy (REIS) at the 2018 Tourism Forum on Thursday Island from 17-18 October.
The REIS Tourism Business Growth Package (BGP) is intended to support Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal entrepreneurs or businesses in the region to start or grow a commercially viable business.
More than 50 community members and presenters attended the forum, which has officially made the BGP available to the public through a showcase of established businesses who provided knowledge and insights from their own journeys in the tourism industry.
The forum also provided aspiring businesses and individuals interested in entering the tourism sector with an opportunity to create networks, share their ideas and look at ways to enhance the tourism industry within the region.
TSRA Chairperson, Mr Napau Pedro Stephen AM, saiddelivering strategic, informed and targeted assistance to businesses in the Torres Strait region is a key priority for the organisation.
“The TSRA has been working hard to ensure all aspects of the REIS are progressing well, and we are now pleased to have launched the third and final stage focusing on the tourism sector,” Mr Stephen said.
“This round of applications continues the commitment of the TSRA to provide opportunities for the local business community to access assistance and to foster economic development in the region through business success and jobs.
“The focus of phase three, the tourism industry BGP, is an area that is one of the most exciting but also requires a different level of assistance than fisheries and arts and culture, however if developed correctly will become a major economic driving force for the region.
“This targeted package is designed to support Torres Strait businesses that rely on tourism as their primary source of value and includes those seeking to build a business based on selling goods and services to international and domestic tourists who are in the Torres Strait Region on day or overnight trips.”
Speakers included Ashleigh Bartley of Tourism Tropical North Queensland who provided a presentation outlining the relationship that has been initiated by the TSRA Economic Development Programme to grow the profile of Tourism within the region through her role as Torres Strait Community Tourism co-ordinator, which includes mentoring the event co-ordinators and tourism officers at the Torres Shire Council, Torres Strait Island Regional Council and Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council.
The seven tourism industries targeted include accommodation, travel, transport, retail goods, food services,visitor information services and materials, and museums and galleries.
The tourism BGP will target people who travel to the Torres Strait Region for leisure, those visiting friends and relatives, and people travelling to the region for work-related purposes such as conferences, business meetings, stakeholder consultations, and seminars.