The Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) has seized on the impressive tourism performance revealed in Friday’s ABS Tourism Satellite Account 2014-15 to argue that the Federal Government should be working with industry to make Australia an even more attractive tourism destination – rather than risking its future through indiscriminate hikes in fees and new taxes.
According to the ABS analysis, the tourism sector’s direct contribution to the Australian economy in the last financial year was an impressive AUD 47.5 billion or 3% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In fact, tourism GDP increased by 5.3% over the period – three times the growth of the total Australian economy.
“If the Federal Government is looking for a miracle industry to help lead Australia through the transition from mining to a broad service-based economy, they’ve found it!” TTF chief executive, Margy Osmond, declared.
“The number of direct jobs being created by the industry has now reached 580,800 – an increase of 6.3% – and with related employment that is supporting close to one million jobs (10% of the total Australian workforce) more broadly through the Australian economy.
“Tourism is continuing to perform remarkably compared to other industry sectors in the Australian economy and yet successive Federal Governments seem to be obsessed with putting a handbrake on its growth potential by ratcheting up the stealth fees and charges on travellers and proposing new taxes like the poorly considered backpacker tax.
“If the Federal Government is serious about the new economic future for Australia it needs to work with industry by slashing visa fees, reducing the holiday tax (Passenger Movement Charge), scrapping the backpacker tax and making a greater investment in marketing campaigns.”
Edited by Peter Needham