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Tourism summit in Canberra presses case to minister

March 9, 2016 Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59The chief executives of Australia’s leading tourism organisations met with Federal Tourism Minister Richard Colbeck in Canberra yesterday to press the tourism industry’s case and discuss the industry’s priorities ahead of the 2016 Federal Election.

The tourism industry called on the Federal Government to do the following:

  • Continue the freeze of the Passenger Movement Charge (PMC);
  • Cut the cost of visas for key and emerging markets such as China and Indonesia and continue to invest in streamlining the visa application process;
  • Provide a substantial, game-changing investment in destination marketing to help the industry reach the Tourism 2020 targets; and
  • Support new initiatives to develop and increase the workforce of the visitor economy.

The meeting took place just a day after the latest ABS Overseas Arrivals figures confirmed that 7.5 million people travelled to Australia in the 12 months to January 2016 – up 9.3% on the previous year.

Chief executives at the Canberra summit included representative of AFTA (the Australian Federation of Travel Agents), TTF (Tourism and Transport Forum Australia), the Accommodation Association of Australia, the Australian Regional Tourism Network, ATEC (the Australian Tourism Export Council), the Business Events Council of Australia, Restaurant and Catering, and Tourism Accommodation Australia.

A communiqué issued afterwards said a productive discussion had canvassed the industry’s proposed reform agenda that will continue to grow Australia’s robust tourism sector which generates more than AUD 113 billion in consumption and supports 925,100 direct and indirect jobs.

Meanwhile, Australia’s visitor economy kicked off 2016 with a strong performance in January according to ABS figures.

The latest ABS Overseas Arrivals figures released today confirm that 7.5 million people travelled to Australia in the 12 months to January 2016 – up 9.3% on the previous year.

Top 10 Overseas Arrivals League Table (12 months to January 2016)

Country of Origin Arrivals Increase
1. New Zealand 1,317,300 5.9%
2. China 1,064,200 30.1%
3. UK 689,800 5.0%
4. USA 616,800 7.9%
5. Singapore 397,900 8.2%
6. Japan 340,300 4.1%
7. Malaysia 338,400 5.2%
8. South Korea 234,300 13.5%
9. India 233,600 16.5%
10. Hong Kong 222,000 12.7%

“These strong figures are the best evidence that the visitor economy is the sector we should be investing in to support the jobs and economic growth that will sustain our quality of life into the future,” said chief executive of the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF), Margy Osmond.

“Chinese visitors are a boon for Australia – up an incredible 30.1%. We’ve passed the historic milestone of one million Chinese visitors and they are spending a record AUD 8.3 billion, making this a very lucrative market for our visitor economy.

“January saw a strong surge of 114,300 Chinese visitors (up 22.6%) ahead of the Chinese New Year celebrations in February – confirming that Australia is a growing attractive destination for this annual celebration of the Chinese calendar.

“And yet with 130 million Chinese anticipated to head overseas this year Australia is attracting less than one% of the total Chinese visitor market.

“We can do so much better if we develop a dedicated economic strategy for the visitor economy that prioritises investing in strong tourism and events marketing campaigns and reducing the costs of visas and travel.”

Edited by Peter Needham

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