Peak tourism industry group, Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) is calling on the ACT Government to double the funding for Visit Canberra and provide certainty with a four-year funding commitment in next year’s budget.
ACT tourism growth has fallen significantly behind other Australian jurisdictions increasing a tiny 0.2 per cent per annum in the last five years compared to the national average of 4.1 per cent.
The ACT tourism industry, through the 2020 Tourism Strategy, has set out an ambitious plan to grow the value of overnight visitor expenditure to $2.5 billion in 2020. As of June 2015, expenditure has reached $1.6 billion demonstrating the need for greater investment from the ACT Government if the 2020 target is to be reached.
“Industry is calling on the ACT Government to get behind the tourism sector and provide an additional $15 million funding per annum for Visit Canberra and guarantee that level of funding over the forward estimates instead of the current ad hoc yearly allocation,” said Margy Osmond, TTF Chief Executive.
“Tourism is a competitive market. If you aren’t out there selling what you have to offer, visitors will travel to those destinations that are willing to put the effort and, crucially, the money behind their tourism and event campaigns.
“Investing in tourism marketing makes good financial sense with research indicating a return on investment of up to $15 for every $1 allocated to destination marketing.
“Boosting funding with a four year commitment over the forward estimates will enable investment in longer term destination campaigns and events. This will allow Canberra to not only further grow its exciting events, but also develop its own signature annual events similar to the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces, VIVID Sydney or the Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s International Series.”
“Our nation’s capital works hard to attract Australians and international visitors to the region but the ACT Government needs to look more seriously at its investment in this important growth industry, which is an economic driver for the Territory.
“Tourism is worth $1.6 billion to the ACT economy with domestic and international visitors spending an average of $5.1 million each day and supporting 14,700 jobs – with a funding boost matched with long-term funding certainty, it can be worth so much more.
“The ACT Government is spending about $14.1 million this financial year on tourism marketing – that’s well below what other smaller states like South Australia ($66.5m) and Tasmania ($25.9m) are spending and a drop in the ocean compared to NSW ($176m).
“Now is the time to get out there and really sell the capital region and make some significant inroads to achieving the ambitious $2.5 billion overnight spending target by 2020.
“A Deloitte study on the future of the Australian economy identified tourism as one of the next great waves for economic growth – but you can’t catch the tourism wave if you are sitting idle with your marketing budget.”