The Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) is calling on all of Australia’s political parties to develop and announce positive policies that will support and enhance the continuing strong growth of Australia’s visitor economy ahead of the Election on July 2.
“This election campaign needs to see some ambition from our political parties to get behind Australia’s visitor economy because it really has been one of the great economic success stories we’ve seen in recent time,” said Margy Osmond, TTF CEO.
“We are heartened to hear the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull specifically mention tourism as a key industry in shaping Australia’s economic future. Industry looks forward to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten making similar statements embracing tourism as a key industry driver for the nation’s future economy.
“The challenge for all our political leaders is to back up their strong words of support for the tourism sector. We need to see positive policies that will allow the industry to reach its full potential as an economic wealth and jobs generator for Australia.
“This is an area that we have continued to see a gulf between words and action in recent times. Now is the time for political parties to get real about support for the visitor economy sectors and the jobs and opportunities they can generate.
“Tourism is now generating $47.5 billion – or 3 per cent of the nation’s GDP – and at 5.3 per cent it is growing three times faster than the total Australian economy.
“Importantly we are supporting 580,800 direct jobs and when related employment is taken into account we are supporting nearly one million jobs – that is 1 in 10 Australians in the workforce.
“Tourism has been an industry in which double digit growth on key indicators has been the norm – and yet we are not getting the attention the industry deserves.
“In 2015, 6.8 million international visitors (up 8 per cent) visited Australia in which they stayed 248.1 million nights (up 11 per cent) and spent $36.6 billion (up 18 per cent).
“The Chinese market alone is growing at 22 per cent with more than one million now coming to our country every year and spending $8.3 billion – 25 per cent of all international expenditure.
“Australia’s domestic visitor economy performance is just as impressive with 87 million overnight trips (up 7 per cent), 322 million visitor nights (up 4 per cent) and $57.9 billion in expenditure (up 6 per cent).
“There is potential to do even better than these solid results if we put the visitor economy in its rightful place as one of the key economic and job generators in our economic planning.
“The Federal Election will be the opportunity for every political party to release a policy platform that supports the visitor economy and our goals to significantly boost its economic contribution to the nation and create thousands of more jobs.
“TTF will be actively working during the campaign to encourage the adoption of policies that encourage more international visitors to travel to Australia by slashing the cost of visas, continuing to freeze the Passenger Movement Charge, scrapping the backpacker tax, investing in destination marketing and building the public transport and visitor infrastructure to make our cities and regions more attractive destinations.”