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Will Tourism Australia’s budgets be slashed … and is the industry crying wolf again or should it be clever and propose another model?

May 13, 2014 Corporate, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59With the very timely happening of Australia’s largest inbound tourism trade show taking place right now in Cairns, Australia’s tourism industry has been proclaiming shock at the Federal Government’s National Commission of Audit recommendation to slash Tourism Australia’s budget in half and folding the organisation into Austrade, also chopping any assistance to the tourism sector.

morefuninthephilippineThe question is whether they really be that shocked, or should we have expected it, and t is it simply another case of the industry crying wolf … again?

Monday’s mainstream consumer news media lists a range of government organisations being closed down or merged, with very interestingly, Tourism Australia not within them, so perhaps it has avoided the chop this time, or could that be a demonstration of an ongoing apathy for tourism by mainstream media?

Whatever it is, we shall all have to wait until Tuesday night to find out.

In the meantime the industry, especially the big industry “lead” organisations always respond with shock and horror statements … it appears to be what they always do, crying wolf again … and again.

But I reckon, if they were clever and all took a step back and asked themselves whether Tourism Australia really seriously demonstrates value for taxpayer’s money and even more importantly, that it provides incremental business, over and above that which would happen in any case, and whether it really provide a serious quantifiable return on taxpayer’s investment, then perhaps we and they might respond differently and even better the Government might even listen.

The real question for Tourism Australia, the Federal Government, the trade and also all those industry organisations is quite simple and can be put in two ways … if Tourism Australia did not exist, would Australia still receive the same levels of business, or putting it the other way around … with Tourism Australia, does Australia receive more tourism business, than it would if TA did not exist.

I am sure that Joe Hockey has had his mandarins looking at similar scenarios in other countries and NTO’s or perhaps Mr Hockey as a former tourism Minister has a bit of a soft for TA, but in reality, I he will surely ant will want to impress his boss Tony Abbott with his unwavering lack of emotion in what is arguably the biggest range of budget and government organisation cuts this country has ever seen.

At the same time Tourism Australia has a new CEO in John O’Sullivan who comes from the private sector from Fox Sports and it may just be that he is being allowed to get is feet under the table with the appointment of any new CEO inevitably resulting in reorganisation.

So, with a background of other governments around the world having chopped their NTO’s with no impact on inbound business, if Tourism Australia was asked the incremental business question, they would claim the success of its campaigns globally, but that is not the question, with the harsh reality being that Tourism Australia and many other NTO’s globally unable to prove they provide any additional or incremental business.

So perhaps, rather than the shock, horror responses  to date, if Tourism Australia’s budget is to be slashed, wouldn’t it be better and a real demonstration to the Federal Government of the industry’s professionalism, if the lead organisations and the industry and even Tourism Australia spent their time coming up with new business models, perhaps a much more commercially focussed and managed organisation, that would more effectively utilise the funds available and by that I mean in real, on the ground marketing activity, and by that I do not mean heaps of staff in prestigious offices in Sydney and overseas, or joint funding marketing activities with large businesses that should be funding their own marketing activity in any case.

Who knows, perhaps that may be what John O’Sullivan is working on … we shall simply have to wait and see.

A Report by John Alwyn-Jones

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