Northern development plan will support growth in tourism

National peak body Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) has today welcomed the package of tourism initiatives announced by the Federal Government in the Northern Australia White Paper.

“We congratulate the Federal Government on recognising tourism and hospitality as a growth industry with the potential to create jobs and generate income in Northern Australia,” TTF CEO Margy Osmond said.

“TTF has long campaigned for changes to our visa programme in order to encourage growth in the tourism and hospitality sectors, and today’s announcement well and truly delivers on that front.

“In particular, the expansion of the Working Holiday Maker Visa Programme will help address labour supply issues in Northern Australia – a key impediment for many tourism businesses – by increasing the amount of time visa holders can work in high demand areas.

“A small number of workers in tourism will also be eligible to work for a second year, under the new changes.

“The expansion of the Seasonal Worker Programme will also support growth in seasonal industries like tourism and hospitality by increasing worker numbers and allowing more countries to participate.

“These measures will help draw workers to Northern Australia and make it more attractive as a destination for tourists.

“This is an important first step in making the whole of Australia more competitive.

“While these initiatives are a great boost to Northern Australia, we must address the fact that many of these same issues are faced in other parts of the country.

“We look forward to working with the Government to roll these initiatives out across Australia.

“We also welcome the Government’s reforms to Chinese and Indian visitor visas, with the introduction of ten-year multiple entry visas for Chinese and the further roll-out of e-lodgement and Chinese language lodgement of visitor visa applications.

“These reforms will bolster our efforts to capture a greater slice of the booming Asian travelling class, and help create jobs and prosperity for communities in Northern Australia,” she said.