Far North Queensland is set to miss out on a golden era of Chinese tourism after Annastacia Palaszczuk sold out the region in favour of south-east Queensland.

Shadow Tourism Minister Jon Krause said Chinese visitor numbers had more than tripled over the past six years but Cairns would now miss out on its fair share of the pie.

He said Chinese tourist numbers to Australia were tipped to reach two million over the next decade, injecting more than $13 billion into the Australian economy by 2020.

“Chinese tourists will now be spending up big in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sydney because Labor dropped the ball on direct flights to Cairns from China,” Mr Krause said.

“Far North Queensland will miss out on an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because of this incompetent Labor Government.

“Why didn’t Annastacia Palaszczuk stand up for Far North Queensland?

“Annastacia Palaszczuk didn’t even have the guts to tell tourism operators her government hadn’t even bothered to go into bat for them, instead letting them find out via media reports.

“You can’t get more gutless than that, but we are talking about Annastacia Palaszczuk after all, and it clearly shows her attitude towards Far North Queenslanders.

Mr Krause said the LNP worked hard to get direct flights from China into Cairns* and now all that hard work had been undone by Labor and the Far North Queensland tourism industry would pay the price.

He said Labor’s part-time Tourism Minister Kate Jones would no doubt start dishing up all the excuses under the sun and blame others for her abject failings ahead of her visit to Cairns.

“No doubt part-time Kate will look to blame the LNP for all the stuff-ups that have occurred under her watch,” he said.

“If she does, the question has to be asked as to what has she been doing for the past two years while collecting her hefty ministerial wage?

“Part-time Kate always has a lot to say, and certainly likes to play the victim, so it will be interesting to see who she tries to blame for this mess.

“If Kate Jones wants to blame anyone for this mess then she should have a long hard look in the mirror, despite how tough that may be.

“Cairns is missing out and will continue to play second fiddle to South-East Queensland under Annastacia Palaszczuk.”

*The LNP announcing direct flights to Cairns from mainland China can be found here:

http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2012/7/20/china-eastern-announces-direct-flights-to-cairns