Figures released in the Australian Bureau of Statistics Tourism Satellite Account show that growth in the accommodation sector has been a major contributor to the impressive performance of the tourism industry in 2014-15.
The ABS figures showed that tourism contributed $47.5 billion to the economy, representing 5.3% growth for the year and delivering 3% of Gross Domestic Product, three times the growth for the total economy.
The accommodation sector led the way, with growth of 7% to $7 billion.
Tourism continues to drive employment growth across Australia. In 2014-15, the number of people directly employed in the tourism industry reached 580,800, an increase of 6.3 per cent on 2013-14.
Direct employment in the accommodation sector grew by 10,500 to 87,500 in 2014-15, making accommodation the third largest contributor to tourism jobs.
Overall, tourism supports close to one million jobs, representing about 10 per cent of Australia’s total employment.
Tourism is now one of Australia’s largest export earners, with international visitors contributing $30.7 billion (an increase of 9%) in 2014-15, making up 9.6% of total Australian exports.
Commenting on the figures, CEO of Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA), Carol Giuseppi, said that rapid growth in hotel development, coupled with major upgrading of existing hotel stock, was having a significant impact on the tourism industry’s expansion.
“We have up to 100 new hotels scheduled to come on stream over the next five years, and this is fuelling major growth in leisure, business, conference and events related travel,” said Ms Giuseppi.
“New hotel development is a vital component of tourism infrastructure and helps ensure that Australia is competitive with other destinations.
“The Government is to be congratulated for its elevation of the tourism industry’s importance and for making tourism infrastructure a national investment priority.
“A Government sponsored report identified that the tourism industry would need 123,000 workers, including over 60,000 skilled workers, over the next five years, which highlights the industry’s pre-eminent potential to drive jobs growth.
“To deliver its full potential we still need the Government to provide support through proactive policies to drive demand and reduce impediments to growth.”