Yes, the tourism industry is in great shape. This month Australia saw great new stats on increased visitation and expenditure across most of the country. And we have smart promotion to thank for it.
Tourism Australia’s 2018 blockbuster marketing campaign rebooting Crocodile Dundee, definitely raised the bar, showing just how well we can sell our country to the world.
We punch way above our weight on tourism success factors. We are #40 for visitor arrivals out of 200 key global destinations and we are the ‘out in front’ winner when it comes to spend per visitor. But there is no room for complacency.
To be a world leading destination you have to invest in the future with real ongoing increases in promotional funding and a long-term commitment by governments to that ‘cause’.
We know that tourism is currently feeling a real boost from a low dollar in that tough international market. We acknowledge there has been some increase in funding for Tourism Australia however, any investment upticks over the last few years have been relatively meagre and at best mean we are treading water.
What the industry needs is future funding certainty and a significant boost in spend over and above the recent announcements, which only counteracted previous cuts.
In the recent Federal Budget TTF felt the Government missed key opportunities when it came to investing in tourism, one of Australia’s key super growth industries.
And while the Budget went a way to delivering much needed infrastructure via a regional tourism grant scheme amongst others, it did not provide enough cash to really sell our amazing product to the world.
Labor has recognised the potential of the industry by making several strategic announcements over the past few weeks, but is it enough soon enough?
A recent Nielsen poll conducted by TTF showed that most Australians see tourism as the leader when it comes to future employment, charging ahead of the mining, finance and agriculture sectors. They also endorse the need for governments to spend more attracting tourists and major events.
We can’t work on the ‘build it and they will come for a very long holiday’ strategy any longer.
There is no point in making our towns, cities and regional areas more attractive to live in and visit, if we are not well enough resourced promotionally to spread the word to the world.
As we roll into the final weeks of the Federal election pre-amble and the campaign heats up, we know that promises to provide job security, infrastructure growth, tax cuts and health investment will all be part of the narrative.
Tourism is the ‘hope of the side’ and will continue to create more jobs and bolster the Aussie economy. Too many see it as just the fun industry. If we had an emoji it would probably be a cocktail glass with a little umbrella on a beach, when it should be seen as an economic powerhouse worthy of support.
As the election countdown ticks by, our message to all politicians would be “Come on guys time to appreciate the goose that lays the golden egg and invest in taking our tourism message to the world.”