Travel Bulletin - - IS­SUES & TRENDS - Margy Os­mond, CEO, Tourism & Trans­port Fo­rum Aus­tralia

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...’

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