Productivity Commission report a barrier to better tourism export

The Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) Australia has expressed its disappointment with the Productivity Commission’s report into the Barriers to Growth in Service Exports which failed to recognise the value of destination marketing or make any recommendations on visa reform.

“The Productivity Commission has blurred the distinct difference between major event funding and destination marketing and drawn the wrong conclusion about government involvement in international marketing campaigns,” said Margy Osmond, TTF CEO.

“Marketing 101 says international visitors won’t come to your country if they don’t know what visitor experiences you have to offer.

“We need the co-ordinated approach and funding from government for the good work that Tourism Australia and its state and territory cousins do in promoting Australia overseas.

“Destination marketing is good value for public investment with an analysis that has already been undertaken showing that the return on investment is about 15:1 – an absolute bargain.

“Federal, state and territory governments base their investments in major marketing programs and major events on extensive cost/benefit research.

“These analyses and reports are not publicly released as they often contain commercially sensitive and confidential information that would hamper the competitive advantage of each jurisdiction domestically, and Australia’s competitive advantage globally.”

Ms Osmond said that TTF was also disappointed that the Productivity Commission did not use this report to make recommendations to reform Australia’s visa system and reduce the cost of the Passenger Movement Charge (PMC).

“The Productivity Commission recognised the industry’s concerns around the high costs of visas and the PMC but despite this they failed to make any recommendations for policy reform.

“The cost of visas and the PMC remain a heavy burden carried by the tourism industry at a time when other international jurisdictions are making concerted efforts to cut the cost of entry to their countries. The Productivity Commission should have been leading the charge on reducing these uncompetitive fees.”

Ms Osmond said the focus on having immigration integrity as the sole policy objective of the international student visa program is the wrong mindset.

“Given the significant economic contribution made by international students to Australia, immigration integrity should be balanced with promoting Australia as an international education destination, and providing a visa program that facilitates the growth of the international education sector.”