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Record Investment in Australian Tourism’s Future Prospects

October 30, 2013 Tourist Boards No Comments Email Email

Tourism ndustry leaders attending the peak annual Australian Tourism Directions Conference in Canberra were told that Tourism Australia would invest A$200m this year marketing Australia to the world – through expanding partnerships with the states and territories, industry and international airlines.

Tourism Australia Managing Director and keynote speaker Andrew McEvoy said the record investment came off the back of strong international and domestic tourism growth, increased aviation capacity and renewed investment in Australia’s tourism infrastructure.

“Australian tourism is performing well and remains a key driver of economic growth and employment. Despite ever increasing global competition and the high dollar we’ve enjoyed a record 6.3 million international arrivals in 2013 and a sustained bounce back in domestic travel, with Australians taking around nine times more trips in their own country than overseas,” he said.

A key highlight of the Directions conference was the release by Tourism Research Australia (TRA) of its latest ‘State of Industry Report’, showing that the industry’s performance improved during 2012-13 on most indicators.

Domestic overnight expenditure increased 3.4 per cent to over A$51 billion while international visitor expenditure continued to grow, up 5.9 per cent to over A$28 billion. Combined, growth in overnight visitor expenditure in 2012-13 shows the industry is tracking at the lower end of the Tourism 2020 range, currently at A$80 billion.

“Our vision under Tourism 2020 is to grow overnight spend in Australian tourism to between A$115 billion and A$140 billion by 2020. Thanks to large part to a resurgence in domestic tourism and the increasing popularity of our country amongst Asia’s emerged and emerging middle classes, we remain on track to achieve this goal,” Mr McEvoy said.

“Despite the tyranny of distance, time and cost, Australia remains one of the world’s most desirable destinations – people are visiting in good numbers and spending well when here, enjoying the wonderful attractions our country has to offer its visitors.

“Tourism Australia is working strategically to increase visitor spending by targeting those international markets we believe will drive future growth. We see great opportunity from the fast growing Asian markets in particular, which could be worth more than A$20 billion by 2020.

“Our success in international marketing and industry development continues to be built  upon strong and effective industry partnerships, typified by our recent ‘Best Jobs in the World’ campaign. And you’ll see this approach taken up a notch when we roll out our new international food and wine campaign, Restaurant Australia,” he said.

Mr McEvoy said that Australia’s appeal extended beyond just visitors, and that smart investors were now queuing up to grab a stake in the industry’s positive future prospects.

“Better tourism infrastructure is vital to growing our industry and the good news is that the investment community share our view that there is value and commercial gain from backing Australian tourism,” he said.

Tourism Australia signed a five year partnership with Austrade in May 2012 to make tourism a new investment priority. This coincided with the launch of a new Tourism Investment Guide, outlining up to 80 investment-ready or proposed tourism investment or infrastructure projects nationally, as agreed by Federal and State Governments.

Mr McEvoy said the partnership approach, working closely with the States and Territories, was starting to bear fruit, most recently with the decision by the Government of New South Wales to set aside Sydney’s landmark Sandstone Buildings in the CBD for tourism purposes when they are marketed to local and international investors later this year.

Other recently announced tourism investment projects include A$160 million plans by Singaporean investor M&L Hospitality to build an extra 231 new rooms at the Four Points by Sheraton Sydney at Darling Harbour, as well as plans by the Hong Kong-based Chang Yuang Group to invest A$10 million in new holiday villas and eco-tourism facilities at their newly purchased Double Island Boutique Resort in Palm Cove, near Cairns.

Australian tourism’s peak annual conference included presentations from leading international and Australian speakers: Ian Harper, leading economist and
Professor Emeritus at Melbourne Business School; Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Tourism and Transport Forum; David Murray AO, Former Chairman of the Future Fund; Angelica Cheung, editor-in-chief of Vogue China; and Graham Turner, Managing Director, Flight Centre Travel Group.

Tourism Directions seeks to highlight the opportunities and challenges of Australia’s A$107 billion visitor economy.

Tourism Research Australia also released a suite of new resources aimed at assisting Australian tourism operators to engage with Asia. Developed in consultation with Tourism Australia and the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC), and funded through the Government’s Asia Marketing Fund, the resources provide tourism SMEs with information about key Asian markets, distribution channels, cultural awareness, and how to develop and action their Asia strategies.

Tourism is Australia’s largest services export earner, directly and indirectly supporting almost one million jobs.

Presentations from the conference will be available at: www.tourism.australia.com/directions 

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