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Why Weaken A Performing Industry

May 6, 2014 Corporate No Comments Email Email

In light of recent recommendations from the Commission of Audit to halve the Government funding to Tourism, Chair of the Australian Regional Tourism Network (ARTN) Mr David Sheldon questions ‘Why would the current government cut off its nose to spite its face?

‘I very much doubt this government would weaken an industry that is performing well above GDP growth, with the latest figures that indicate tourism growth at 3.7% compared the overall GDP growth of 2.4%.’

Most of the country would realise that a rationalisation of our Government’s spending and revenue generation is long overdue.  But with the Treasurer stating that ‘we need to back our strengths and recognise that tourism is an economic development strategy for Australia which can help to deliver prosperity and provide job and business opportunities across the country’. So why would Government take on a recommendation to halve its modest support for such an economic driver?

I believe that Minister Robb can persuasively not just defend the government’s tourism investment but he could actually argue to increase its investment in an industry that is one of the world’s fastest growing and one that supports in excess of 900, 000 jobs nationally.

With Minister Robb’s recent trade successes throughout Asia it could be an ideal opportunity to further highlight the importance of the tourism portfolio, as an inclusion, to Minister for Trade, Investment and Tourism; an elevation of the industry’s importance and prominence for today’s world.

Mr Sheldon points out that the Federal Government set an aggressive target of doubling the overnight expenditure by 2020. A target, which both sides of government have been committed to and a target the states agreed upon. So to halve the investment at this time would be lunacy, especially as tracking suggests the industry is on target to meet the lower quadrant of the target scale. It is clear that industry and Government need to be more aggressive in striving to meet the top end of the target scale, with regional Australia playing a significant role.

 Mr Sheldon believes that after the Federal Government’s recent roundtables, the time is right for it to set an overarching tourism strategy with roles and responsibilities from Government through to industry and this should include a reversal of the decision in regard to government’s withdrawal from domestic tourism.

In closing Mr Sheldon congratulates the Governments for its initiative to freeze passenger movement charges for 3 years.

The Australian Regional Tourism Network is the peak national body representing regional tourism at the federal level and continues to advocate for greater recognition of regional tourism and regions in general.

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