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Tourism boom times ahead, latest forecasts predict

October 29, 2013 Destination Global, Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

egtmedia59Tourism is booming in Australia in both directions, inbound and out, latest figures show – and the boom is set to persist.

Australians continue to head overseas in record numbers. The current trend estimate for departures, as of August 2013, is a full 8% higher than in August 2012, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Short-term resident departures during August 2013 (739,500 movements) increased 0.5% compared with July 2013 (735,900 movements). This follows monthly increases of 0.9% in June and 0.7% in July 2013. EGT_Artical Banner A 250x250

Lastest forecasts from Tourism Research Australia (TRA) predict that international arrivals will accelerate to a growth rate of 6.6% in the 2013-14 financial year to 6.6 million, while domestic visitor nights will increase by 2.0% to 293 million.

New analysis released in Singapore shows that the Asia-Pacific travel market is now the world’s largest and is expected to be worth USD 352 billion this year.

The PhoCusWright research forecasts that the Asia-Pacific travel market will be worth USD 407 billion in 2015, with China responsible for a third of that amount.

Australian industry groups expressed satisfaction at the inbound forecasts.

“These reports show we can expect around 6.6 million international visitors to Australia in the coming year, pushing us well clear of the most recent milestones.  These improved projections in visitation, coupled with an increase in forecasted expenditure value to AUD 29 billion in 2013-14, sets the industry up for a record performance this year,” managing director of the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC), Felicia Mariani said.

“This is a significant and strong achievement for our industry.  With high levels of growth out of new markets in Asia, supported by the rebounding performance from our traditional markets, the tourism industry has finally secured a positive path for growth.”

“The expected increase in domestic travel is a welcome turn-around and will certainly help to underpin our improving performance.

“All of this clearly combines to illustrate the strong value tourism represents to Australia’s future economic fortunes.  The recent Deloitte Report identified tourism as one of the five key pillars to drive the nation’s future economic performance.  These reports released today by the TRA absolutely cement this thinking and Government needs to work with the tourism industry to ensure that this potential is maximised.”

Mariani said the report also showed the enormous contribution tourism makes to sustaining local communities and employment across the nation.

“Around 280,000 tourism businesses across Australia – predominantly small business operators – provide a significant contribution to tourism’s gross value add.

“The report also highlights some of the real sticking-points in the future success of the industry, with high labour costs and productivity a significant burden on the profitability and success of these businesses.

“The tourism industry is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week operation and the profit margins are low. For many of our members, staff costs stifle their capacity to effectively operate a business, and this must change in order for the industry to remain competitive on a global level.

“In the lead up to the election, the Government indicated they would look to find “a sensible middle ground” on labour costs and we would encourage them to take the opportunity to act on this promise and provide real change for the tourism industry.”

Mariani said enabling the industry to perform better would have significant positive benefits to the broader economy and urged the Government to invest in its growth.

The Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF), said the latest tourism forecasts reinforced the potential for tourism to be an economic development strategy for Australia.

TTF chief executive Ken Morrison said the latest tourism figures provided yet more evidence of the potential for tourism to deliver economic growth for Australia.

“This latest forecast shows the opportunity that tourism provides for the Australian economy as the mining investment boom subsides,” he said.

“Tourism already directly employs more 532,000 people in more than 280,000 businesses across Australia but we have the chance to grow this contribution even further.

“The mining boom may be waning, but the people boom out of Asia is just beginning and the right investment in demand-driving infrastructure and tourism marketing can help Australia maximise the opportunities of the burgeoning global travel sector.

“Earlier this month, Deloitte named tourism as one of five super-growth sectors where Australia has a competitive advantage and that can help to deliver future economic prosperity.”

Referring to the new PhoCusWright research released in Singapore, Morrison reiterated that they forecast that the Asia-Pacific travel market would be worth “an astonishing USD 407 billion in 2015”, with China responsible for a third of that amount.

“These are extraordinary figures which only serve to emphasise the need for Australia to continue to improve its competitiveness and build its aviation and accommodation capacity.

“Expanding the Working Holiday Maker scheme into more of our target markets in Asia and removing the restrictive caps in countries with existing agreements will also help to open up Australia for international visitors.

“TTF is also calling for a review of our departure tax, the Passenger Movement Charge, which is the highest in the world for short-haul travel and collects nearly four times more revenue than it costs to provide the passenger processing services it was introduced to pay for.”

The only downside to this rosy picture, from an industry perspective, is that everyone agrees profit margins are still very slim.

Written by : Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Mark Cameron says:

    And we now have a Federal government that sees fit not to appoint a dedicated Tourism minister….

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