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Industry Sets Stong Framework For Growth – But Key Improvements Could Make A Difference

October 30, 2013 Association No Comments Email Email

The State of the Industry (SOI) report released at today’s Australian Tourism Directions Conference shows the industry is heading in a positive direction, but there are some key levers that Government can use to assist in achieving greater economic outcome, ATEC Managing Director, Felicia Mariani said.
“This SOI report  is an incredibly positive indicator for the Australian tourism industry and clearly shows we are set to achieve at least the lower level expectations set out in the Tourism 2020 targets of $115 billion in overnight visitor expenditure,” Ms Mariani said.

“After many recent shocks and setbacks for the industry, these latest indicators give us reason to reflect on the journey we have made and the incredible achievements realised in the face of such adversity – we are a resilient industry that refuses to give up.Sidebarcbc_468x220

“While we look set to hit the targets established for overnight visitor expenditure, we are really only realising the lower limits of this expectation, leaving some room to improve.

“What is interesting to see is that this growth is led by domestic travel which has achieved 19% of its goal, while international visitation has achieved 6% of its expenditure potential.  While this represents a healthy $28b in annual expenditure, there is definitely room for higher performance.

“The industry and Government working together, clearly have the ability to bridge the gap and boost our international expenditure performance in order to fully stretch our wings.”

Ms Mariani said international expenditure growth continued to be led by China, which is up 67% on 2009 tracing much of the industry’s success to this market alone.

“We clearly must maintain and grow our traditional markets, recognising they remain the focus for a large proportion of our industry operators, while nurturing the potential of the new Asian markets, including China.

“One key enhancement required for the industry to really maximise the opportunities out of Asia, is for Government to expedite its commitment for improved Visa access for FIT visitors from China and other key Asian destinations.

“While Australia leads the way in processing visas for ADS group travellers, we lag the rest of the world in their advancements to encourage more independent travel from the China market.

“The US and even the UK have recently made significant improvements to access of their visas for independent Chinese travellers.  Australia needs to move quickly in introducing enhancements like multiple entry visas and streamlined visa processing – commitments made in the Coalition’s Tourism Policy ahead of the election – if we are to remain competitive at a global level.

“Australia’s marketing clearly targets the independent traveller, and this is where the real growth potential lies in driving improved expenditure form this important market; but we are quickly losing ground to other international destinations who are responding more rapidly with flexible visa access and Australia risks being seen as ‘all too hard’ when Chinese travellers have so many options to consider on their shopping list of holiday destinations.”

“What we call on the Government to do is to assist the industry in bridging this gap – allowing tourism to step up and meet the full potential of our international markets.

“We are very pleased the Abbott Government has recognised the enormous value of Australia’s tourism economy and is looking to build on its potential and we would encourage increased support and engagement that will assist operators to better service our international visitors.

The SOI report also shows the industry has worked hard and made ground on some significant goals in key areas that include infrastructure investment, record growth in airline capacity and greatly improved digital capability within the industry.

“It’s become very clear that we have now set down a strong framework upon which to build the future of Australian tourism and the figures bear this out.”

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