Tourism export part of Australian economic future
In the framework of the International Visitor Survey, ATEC Managing Director, Felicia Mariani, said the positive growth from Asian markets and the improvements in some of our traditional markets show Australian tourism has plenty more to contribute.
“Despite significant barriers to growth, Australia’s international visitation – and particularly our Holiday and Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) segments – is continuing to show solid growth and the industry must be proud of that achievement,” Ms Mariani said.
“In a time when our industry has faced a very difficult and highly competitive environment including the high Australian dollar, business-stifling labour costs and shortages, and increasingly burdensome taxes, our tourism industry is still managing to keep Australia high on the wish list of many international travellers. What is remarkable is that, on top of the new, high spending visitors from Asia, we are seeing excellent recovery signs from the US and the UK providing a continually expanding market base.”
Ms Mariani warned that future results would be strongly connected to our ability to build greater regional dispersal – helping visitors to connect with a more diverse tourism offering. “With more than 60% of Australia’s 5.8 million visitors annually on a repeat visit, we must have new experiences and destinations to offer those international visitors each time they come. It is incumbent on the State and Federal governments to ensure they appropriately invest in building tourism marketing, and supply side capacity, that encourages greater visitation to our regional destinations. With state budgets in Queensland and South Australia this week, and the Federal election later this year, this is an important time to recognise the value of investment in the tourism industry, both through strong marketing campaigns and well-targeted supply side support.”
The forecast value of Australia’s tourism export industry has recently shot up to almost $30 billion, showing the significant contribution of inbound tourism to the Australian economy. “At a time when the shine is coming off the mining and automotive industries in this country, it’s time to recognise the potential of tourism to make a significant contribution to employment and GDP. The latest forecast released by the Tourism Forecasting Committee (TFC) shows we have finally broken through the barrier – which sat at around $24 billion for many years – and we are now seeing the benefits of the combined efforts to improve our tourism offering that has been made by governments and industry. These figures also forecast the expected annual rate of growth for arrivals to sit at around 3.5% taking our arrival numbers up to 8.4 million by 2021-22. Now is the time for Governments across this country to recognise the potential of tourism to deliver value to their economies and to invest strongly in the future of tourism and the future of the Australian economy.”