Politicians were swift to claim credit for healthy tourism figures released yesterday, while industry bodies offered advice to the politicians.
Tourism Minister Richard Colbeck issued a statement saying the figures showed “the tourism industry continues to thrive under the Turnbull Government with visitor numbers and spend continuing their strong growth trajectory”.
International visitors to Australia spent a record AUD 37.9 billion in the year ending March 2016, 17% or AUD 5.4 billion more than the previous year, according to the latest International Visitor Survey results released yesterday by Tourism Research Australia (TRA). The number of visitors aged 15 years and over reached 7.1 million, increasing by 575,000 (9%) from the previous year, and nights were up 8% to 248 million.
The Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) will launch its Election Manifesto tomorrow at its tourism industry and policy conference – Outlook 2016 – which TTF chief executive Margy Osmond says will detail “the actions we need to see from the next Federal Government to allow the industry to reach its full potential”.
Colbeck said tourism was “one of five key super-growth sectors driving our transition to a new, diversified economy”. It directly contributed AUD 47.5 billion to Australia’s GDP (accounting for 3% of GDP) and supported around one million Australian jobs,” he said.
“The opportunity that our growing international tourism market presents for Australia is enormous,” Colbeck said. “A recent research paper by L.E.K. Consulting found that Chinese visitors to Australia are more likely to buy Australian products and services after they return home, with their average annual spend rising by 40% after their trip. It is clear that tourism’s broader flow-on effects illustrate the importance of this industry.
“Tourism operators continue to benefit from the Turnbull Government’s pro-growth policies, such as streamlining visa applications, targeted marketing, increasing aviation capacity and making tourism infrastructure a national investment priority.
“In addition, approximately 95 percent of Australia’s tourism industry is made up of small businesses, directly benefiting from the Turnbull Government’s plan for a strong new economy, creating more jobs, boosting growth and productivity.
“Our policies have overseen the highest growth in tourism since the Sydney Olympics and we remain on track to reach the Tourism 2020 target of doubling overnight visitor expenditure to between AUD 115 and AUD 140 billion annually.”
Colbeck concluded that Australians could “trust the Turnbull Government” to ensure that tourism, and other key growth sectors of our economy, were supported as the country transitions from the mining construction boom to a more diversified and stronger economy.
The Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) welcomed the strong result in the latest International Visitor Survey, which it noted had been released two days ahead of the official launch of TTF’s Federal Election Manifesto at the tourism industry and policy conference – Outlook 2016 – which is being held at the Crown Conference Centre in Melbourne on Friday.
“The latest international visitor survey results just reinforce why we need to be hearing more during this election campaign from Mr Turnbull and Mr Shorten on their respective visions for Australia’s visitor economy,” said TTF chief executive Margy Osmond.
“Can you name another industry in Australia that is seeing the fantastic results being delivered by the tourism sector? The industry is going from strength to strength but we can do so much more with the right policy settings.
“The industry is keenly awaiting the release of comprehensive tourism industry policies from all political parties before polling day. It’s time for politicians to show that they view our industry as more than a photo opportunity, we need to see a suite of positive policies to secure the investment we need.
“TTF will be officially launching our Election Manifesto on Friday at our premier tourism industry and policy conference – Outlook 2016 – which will detail the actions we need to see from the next Federal Government to allow the industry to reach its full potential.”
Written by Peter Needham