Australia’s new Minister for Tourism and International Education (as the portfolio is titled), Tasmanian Senator Richard Colbeck, is keeping a watchful eye on the impact on tourism of sharing-economy businesses, such as Uber and Airbnb.
Tourism operators say the new business models let apartment owners and Uber drivers unfairly undercut traditional businesses, because in some cases the newcomers don’t have to worry about regulations, fire safety, insurance and the like. Colbeck is looking into that aspect, the Australian Financial Review reports.
CHOICE, which is interested in consumer value, gave one sharing-economy player, UberX, the thumbs up recently: CHOICE test shows UberX thrashes the competition
More generally, the Accommodation Association of Australia (AAA) has welcomed Colbeck’s appointment and the link with education in his portfolio.
“The accommodation industry is pleased that Australia has a specific minister who is responsible for tourism again,” the AAA’s chief executive, Richard Munro, said.
It sent a message to the industry that Australia’s new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recognised the value of tourism to the economy, Munro added.
The AAA said placing tourism and international education in the same portfolio was “an excellent strategic move”.
“It is important that the Federal Government plays a lead role in promoting Australia as a safe and hospitable destination for international students,” Munro said.
“Education is one of our largest and most important sources of international visitors, and is a segment which is set to grow even further with the right public policy settings.
“The new ministerial arrangements will help promote stronger economic returns within the accommodation industry.”
Written by Peter Needham