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ATE underway with budget bombshell ready to burst

May 12, 2014 Exhibitions, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59The Australian Tourism Exchange 2014  (ATE14) is underway in Cairns, a new venue for the show. Amid the business and the events, there’s much discussion among delegates about the coming Federal Budget and what it may mean for Australia’s AUD 100 billion tourism sector. The Federal Budget will be delivered tomorrow, falling in the middle of ATE.

Organised by Tourism Australia in conjunction with Tourism and Events Queensland, and airline partners Virgin Australia and Etihad, ATE14 brings together 1200 Australian delegates from 429 Australian tourism businesses to meet with 600 key buyer delegates from 38 countries to meet in 50,000 business appointments over five days.

ATE was preceded this year by an inaugural ATE International Media Marketplace (IMM), held in Palm Cove. This new three-day program of one-on-one appointments, networking sessions, workshops and events brought together exhibitors and 75 international and domestic media representatives from Australian’s key markets.

Travmedia, the travel industry’s global media network, conducted the IMM event so flawlessly that Tourism Australia wants IMM to become a permanent annual event.Event at International Media Marketplace on Saturday

Tourism Australia used IMM to unveil the latest evolution of its global campaign – ‘There’s nothing like Australia’ – which uses exceptional food and wine experiences from around the country to convert the global appetite for Australia as a travel destination into more visits.

While prospects look rosy, much depends on the Federal Budget, which will be delivered tomorrow. Last week, the government-appointed National Commission of Audit recommended slashing Tourism Australia’s budget in half, a move widely condemned, including by ATEC and the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF).

Latest developments in the Federal Budget arena:

  • A special combined Roy Morgan Nightly Business Pulse and Roy Morgan Nightly Consumer Pulse survey shows large majorities of both Australian consumers (88%) and businesses (77%) overwhelmingly feel that the looming Federal Budget will not benefit them.

“Despite it being a Liberal Government, 72% of Liberal supporters believe next week’s Federal Budget will not benefit them or their families compared to just 28% that say next week’s Federal Budget will benefit them,” the report says.

Here’s an interesting aspect – small business fears the Federal Budget more than big business: “Although Australian businesses also clearly have a negative perception of next week’s Federal Budget – only 23% expect next week’s Budget to benefit their businesses, there is a clear differential between larger businesses of over 200 employees and smaller businesses. Nearly a third of larger businesses (32%) believe next week’s Budget will benefit their businesses compared to only 20% of micro businesses (under 5 employees), 24% of small businesses (5-19 employees) and 21% of medium businesses (20-199 employees).”

  • The TCF says international visitor arrivals figures for March show the need for continuing strong support for tourism in the budget to help the visitor economy continue to grow. The ABS’s Overseas Arrivals and Departures data show international arrivals up 2.6% for March. The budget must include “strong ongoing support for tourism marketing and infrastructure investment,” says TTF executive director Adele Labine-Romain.

“It’s also essential that Tourism Australia remains an independent agency run by experts so it retains its creativity, strategic focus and ability to respond to changing market conditions. The Abbott government must use the federal budget to demonstrate its support for tourism as an economic strategy for Australia.”

  • The Australian Accommodation Association says it strongly opposes recommendations by the National Commission of Audit report to halve funding for Tourism Australia and fold Tourism Australia into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • The Export Council of Australia says the National Commission of Audit recommendations on exports “would be a recipe for disaster and introducing these changes would put Australia out of step with every other country in the world”.
  • Hotels in Canberra, however, are doing very well in bookings for budget night.

Despite all that, the Federal Budget has already been signed, sealed and printed. The travel industry, like delegates at ATE and the rest of Australia, will learn about it tomorrow.

Written by Peter Needham

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