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Tourist arrivals break record and it could be even better

February 14, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

International visitor figures for the full calendar year 2016 show a heartening increase – up 11% higher than the previous year – and the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) says it has the key to making the results even better.

While welcoming the release of the figures, the TTF says the statistics serve as a strong incentive for government to stop overtaxing the tourism sector and instead work with industry to invest in the growth of the visitor economy.

The latest ABS Overseas Arrivals figures released yesterday confirm that 8.3 million people travelled to Australia over the 12 months to December 2016 – up 11% on the previous year.

Country of Origin Arrivals (12mths to December 16) Increase/Decrease
  1. New Zealand
1,347,400 2.7%
  1. China
1,199,100 16.9%
  1. UK
716,700 3.7%
  1. USA
711,400 16.4%
  1. Singapore
439,600 10.7%
  1. Japan
413,800 22.7%
  1. Malaysia
387,700 14.3%
  1. South Korea
284,600 23.7%
  1. India
259,900 11.3%
  1. Hong Kong
249,300 13.7%

“2016 was a great year for our visitor economy with a record breaking 8.3 million international visitors choosing Australia as their destination. This new year is shaping up to be just as good but it will all be put at risk if government refuses to stop slugging the industry with higher taxes and charges,” said TTF chief executive Margy Osmond.

“The backpacker tax and the AUD 60 holiday tax – the Passenger Movement Charge – on travellers is still fresh in the minds of the industry and the full impact of these measures have yet to filter through.  This year must be about the government keeping its hands out of the pockets of the industry so we can reach our full potential as a wealth and jobs generator for the nation.

“As the Prime Minister has said repeatedly, “If you want less of something, tax it more.” Those are wise words that must be heeded by the government by working with industry to increase investment in critical visitor infrastructure not treating the industry as a ‘cash cow’.

“I call on all our political leaders and political parties to rule out any plans to increase the cost of travel to Australia. There cannot be any nasty surprises in this year’s budget.

“We need to make 2017 a year in which government and industry sit down together as part of a high level discussion on what we need to do to make sure our infrastructure is ready. We need to be investing more in our airports and cruise terminals, roads and public transport, accommodation offering and our attractions to make sure Australia can remain competitive in an increasingly cutthroat global tourism market.”

Edited by Peter Needham

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