From the managing editor
Richard Colbeck, Federal Minister for Tourism and International Education, certainly seems to have grasped the nettle of his portfolio which he has taken up with exquisite timing, just as the economy turns from its resource boom to focus on other areas including tourism. The Tasmanian senator spoke about the transformation at last month’s Destination Australia conference in Sydney, confirming that the government now recognises tourism as one of five “super growth” areas in the Australian economy. That was further underlined, he said, by the minutes of a recent Reserve Bank board meeting held on 1 March which noted that “the scope for Chinese household incomes to rise over time created long-run potential for Australia to increase exports of rural produce and services, including tourism, to China”. Colbeck seized on these comments, saying when financial markets begin talking about tourism it is clear that the sector’s potential is firmly on the radar both for governments, big business and investors across the country. That also extends to attitudes about travel and tourism industry careers, with Colbeck strongly urging a rethink. “Our understanding that this is a strong and a positive career path needs to be very much stronger as part of the message we portray to the broader community… these are real, good and solid careers,” he said. However like some of his predecessors it appears Colbeck also needs some education about the importance of the outbound market, and the thousands of Australian travel agents, tour operators, airline staff and other suppliers in the travel sector. AFTA, which did such a good job of informing previous officials that tourism and travel isn’t just about inbound visitation, clearly needs to have a word in Colbeck’s ear based on some of his comments about the overall industry during his speech. Unveiling growth of more than 10% in domestic overnight expenditure, Colbeck claimed this showed a shift to domestic travel in preference to overseas holidays which he said is “good news for everyone”. While outbound numbers also continue to grow, the Minister’s delight at the prospect of slowing numbers of overseas holidays clearly showed he didn’t understand the impact this would have on all of the Australians employed in the outbound travel industry. MEANWHILE we hope you enjoy this special cruise-focused edition of travelbulletin. For the first time we have some “editor’s cruise picks” and even an origami activity in the centre of the magazine. Don’t miss it!