Exploring Tourism Growth Opportunities in the IOT

The Australian Government is working to identify opportunities for sustainable tourism growth on Christmas Island (CI) and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, with the release of the Terms of Reference for an independent review of tourism in the Indian Ocean Territories (IOT).

I welcomed the opportunity to meet with representatives of the CI tourism sector this morning to announce the next steps in the review and also to discuss the potential to grow the economy, support employment, and create opportunities for small businesses and young people in the sector.

The 2019-20 Federal Budget provided funding for the review and development of a tourism action plan to support growth opportunities and address barriers.

The IOT Regional Development Organisation (IOT RDO) and its chair, Mrs Natasha Griggs, are seeking an external consultant to conduct the review and draft a plan by December 2019.

The unique bird life, marine environments and national parks, the diverse culture and history, as well as the annual red crab migration on CI, are key draw cards for tourists visiting the IOT.

The review and action plan will assess tourism growth potential, advise on potential new tourism products and events, identify potential new tourist markets and advise on best practice marketing and promotion strategies.

The action plan will also explore the tourism initiatives identified through the Our Christmas Island 2030 Strategic Plan and the Our Cocos (Keeling) Islands 2030 Strategic Plan.

Both strategic plans are supported by the Australian Government and highlight tourism opportunities associated with the islands' natural attributes including their flora and fauna, remoteness, and multicultural communities with business links to mainland Australia and Asia.

The Terms of Reference are available at www.regional.gov.au/territories/publications/index.aspx, with the Request for Proposal for the project to be advertised by the IOT RDO in metropolitan newspapers. Enquiries on the RFP should be directed to david.eizenberg@infrastructure.gov.au.

I look forward to progressing this important initiative.