The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) today welcomed the $36.7 million budget top up announced for Tourism Australia which will help the industry continue on its strong growth path.“Our industry has seen solid growth in the past 5 years and we are now being recognised for the significant contribution we are making to the Australian economy,” ATEC Managing Director, Peter Shelley said.
“This funding will ensure our marketing dollar continues to deliver for our industry despite fluctuations in the exchange rate, and with international visitor spend set to grow to $33 billion this year alone, it is vital we stay committed to our international marketing efforts.
“Other measures such as small business tax breaks, investment in expanding our trade agreements and Australia Week events and around $26 million to establish international border clearance services for airports in Townsville and the Sunshine Coast, will also help to support and grow international tourism into regional Australia.”
Mr Shelley said he was concerned about the negative impact created by visa fee increases that will render Australia less competitive in growing its market share.
“Today’s traveller is highly discerning and price sensitive, and visa fee hikes present an added barrier which can work against even the best marketing effort.”
“Also of concern is the impact of changes to working holiday maker visa fees and the removal of the tax-free threshold that will affect around 200,000 youth travellers who visit Australia each year and spend an average of $13,000 during their stay.
“While many working holiday visa visitors do not register for the tax free threshold, promotion of additional costs for the application fee and in-country, will likely have a detrimental effect on Australia’s desirability as a destination for these visitors and many others.”
“With more than a billion global travellers now deciding on their next destination, Australian needs to ensure it is competitively positioned to maximise its share of the lucrative international travel dollar.”