IT’S TIME TO TALK TOURISM
IT’S election season and the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) is fighting hard on behalf of the sector to ensure that the visitor economy remains front and centre of the policy debate in the lead up to polling day.
We are, after all, one of the key super-growth sectors that is being called upon to do the heavy lifting of keeping the economy growing and the jobs coming for thousands of Australians as the mining boom ends.
Everyone in our sector can be an advocate for a stronger visitor economy and now is the time to be having that conversation with your local Mp/candidates or even a Minister/shadow Minister if they are popping into town for a photo op.
Politicians will be out in force in shopping centres, train stations, local events and even showing up on your front doorstep. Take the opportunity to tell them they need to be doing more to support the visitor economy – businesses, employees and travellers. The latest ABS figures show that the tourism sector’s direct contribution to the Australian economy was an impressive $47.5 billion – or 3% of GDP. That is an increase of 5.3% which is three times the growth of the total economy.
The tourism industry now directly supports 580,800 jobs (up 6.3%) and with related employment we are generating nearly one million jobs across the economy – that’s a job for 1 in 10 Australians in the workforce.
Australia is now attracting more than one million Chinese visitors and they are spending $8.3 billion a year – 25% of the total international visitor spend.
Doesn’t that sound like an industry that a Government which wants to transition the economy to a services-based economy, should be backing more?
Our politicians can do that very easily by:
Investing more money in Tourism Australia and its fantastic international marketing campaigns. Research shows that every dollar invested generates a $15 return;
Reducing the cost of visas for key growth markets like China. $135 for a visa is not the best welcoming message; Maintaining the freeze on the $55 Passenger Movement Charge which has become an almost $1 billion holiday tax charged on everyone travelling out of Australia – or even better cutting the fee;
Scrapping the planned 32.5% backpacker tax on working holiday makers and invest in training to help industry meet the 123,000 worker shortfall by 2020;
Improving the visitor experience at the border with the roll out of biometric technology and automation and a stronger focus on getting the balance right between security and customer service
TTF will fight the good fight on the industry’s behalf, but let’s work to get the message out there together.
Everyone in our sector can be an advocate for a stronger visitor economy...’