Combining the tourism and transport portfolios as one Federal department was foreshadowed today as part of the Opposition’s tourism, aviation and transport plans should they win government on May 18.

“This restructuring of portfolios will be welcomed by industry as it recognises that infrastructure is critical to the future of the tourism industry and makes good sense,” said Tourism and Transport Forum CEO Margy Osmond today.

“Tourism, transport and aviation are job creating sectors, which are critical to growing the economy and policy development in this space must therefore, be as integrated as possible.”

The potential post-election tourism plans announced today, include previously announced funding for Tourism Australia to re-engage in domestic tourism marketing and aviation attraction, as well as visitor infrastructure commitments in Northern and Central Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria as well as in Kakadu National Park.

“TTF strongly endorses commitments to reform visitor visas to maintain and grow competitiveness, elevating the role of the Tourism Access Working Group and for no increase to the Passenger Movement Charge within the next term of a Labor Government. In fact rather than any future increases this is a tax on tourism which should be decreased over the longer term,” Ms Osmond said.

“Additional commitments include timely support for the aviation sector when new gateways are approved, adequate port infrastructure to support the cruise industry, support for indigenous tourism and tourism careers, funding for regional airports, measurement of the economic value of business events and a consideration of potential reforms to the Tourist Refund Scheme.”

“The tourism and transport sectors are ready to work closely with the Coalition or Labor following the election, so that these sectors can remain as cost competitive as possible in order to keep providing ongoing economic benefits to Australia.”