Qantas thumbs nose at Tourism Australia in Qld deal

Qantas has shown it will stick to plans to pour money for marketing into the coffers of states rather than Tourism Australia after striking a $12 million deal with Queensland to promote its destinations overseas.

Qantas has shown it will stick to plans to pour money for marketing into the coffers of states rather than Tourism Australia after striking a $12 million deal with Queensland to promote its destinations overseas.

In the biggest deal since it set aside $15 million for NSW in April, Qantas will contribute $6 million to market Queensland to foreign tourists over three years, which will be matched by the state.

The decision to allocate funds to the states rather than Tourism Australia follows a breakdown in relations between Qantas boss Alan Joyce and his predecessor, Geoff Dixon, late last year. Mr Joyce has demanded his former mentor step aside as Tourism Australia chairman or dissociate himself from a group of high-profile investors who had been agitating for a change in strategic direction at Qantas last year.

The group has since sold its small stake in Qantas for a tidy profit.

Qantas remains in talks with other state governments about funding for tourism marketing, and another partnership is expected to be announced next week. But the $30 million deal with NSW's tourism body in April will remain its largest.

Tourism Australia has been making up for the loss of funds from Qantas by signing marketing deals with other airlines, including Virgin Australia and most recently, Air China.

Qantas and Queensland's tourism body are finalising details for the first joint campaigns under the new deal, which are set to begin later this year in a number of overseas markets.

Queensland Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey said the the partnership with Qantas would help attract more visitors from the state's key markets, including New Zealand, the US, Asia and the UK.

The state wants to boost overnight visitor spending to $30 billion within the next seven years, and Ms Stuckey said the latest deal would be a "powerful tool" for attracting more visitors to the state.

Until the breakdown in relations, Qantas and Tourism Australia had a $44 million partnership over three years to promote the country to overseas tourists.

However, Qantas has said it would not walk away from its funding of the annual "G'day LA" event in the US, despite the fact that Tourism Australia was involved.

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