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Budget must support tourism to stay internationally competitive

April 29, 2016 Business News No Comments Email Email

The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) today called on the Turnbull Government to strengthen the success of Australia’s tourism industry by delivering a budget free of increases to taxes and charges which would negatively affect its strong growth.

“We are calling on the Government to recognise the extraordinary rates of growth, and significant export income, generated by the export tourism industry and the contribution we are making to the success of Australia’s economy,” ATEC Managing Director, Peter Shelley said.

“Measures of tourism export success, including an 8% year-on-year increase in international visitor numbers and a massive 18% growth in expenditure, have put our industry on the front foot with further room to grow.

“Forecasts suggest export tourism will grow strongly through to 2020, with annual expenditure by international visitors to grow 4.7% annually, totalling more than $42 billion a year in the next 5 years.”

Mr Shelley said while ‘Destination Australia’ was proving highly desirable for international visitors, the enormous global growth in travel meant there were many more destinations recognising the economic value of competing for a greater share of the market.

“We want the Government to support our industry in making the most of its future by holding increased visa fees and taxes at bay, continuing to maintain the current Passenger Movement Charge and by strengthening Tourism Australia in the important job of marketing Australia to the world.

“Tourism exports account for 8.2% of total exports from Australia, a share that is growing at more than 4% year-on-year, so we are clearly an industry of significant value to the Australian economy and one the Government should be looking to support.”

ATEC has joined with its industry partners to call for the Government to get behind Australian tourism in this year’s Federal Budget through measures including:

  • Continuing the freeze on the Passenger Movement Charge
  • Tax rates for backpackers to be set at a rate which does not discourage visitation and a freeze on the cost of associated visa categories
  • Continued and expedited reform of visa application, processing times and costs
  • Improved funding for Tourism Australia and Tourism Research Australia
  • Policy and taxation measures which support business

“As an industry that directly employs more than half a million Australians, now is the time to embrace policy settings that support an employer which will provide strong job opportunities into the future.

“We can sit by and watch as our competitors move to take greater market share, or we can be proactive to shore up our competitive advantage.  

“We trust the Budget will support Australian tourism to continue on its successful path.”

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