The Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) is calling on the Federal Government to seize on the growing boom in the tourism sector and work with industry to develop an economic strategy that will unleash its full potential.
“International visitors spent a whopping $36.6 billion in Australia in 2015 – that’s up a staggering 18 per cent,” said Margy Osmond, TTF CEO.
“Name another industry where we are seeing such fantastic performance year after year – yet we are only just scratching the surface of the international tourism markets we could be tapping into if we develop a strategy to make tourism a cornerstone of our economy.
“We have just recently passed the milestone of more than one million Chinese visitors coming to Australia but that is still less than one per cent of the 130 million Chinese expected to head overseas this year.
“Chinese visitors spent an amazing $8.3 billion last year which is up 45 per cent on the previous year – we talk about the end of the mining boom, well here is the tourism boom and our potential market is only getting bigger and bigger each year.
“We are very pleased to have a dedicated Tourism Minister once again being a vocal advocate for the sector within the Federal Government.
“Minister Colbeck has overseen and championed some significant changes with additional flight capacity and visa reforms which are helping support these record-breaking figures.
“But there is so much more that can be done if we are prepared to roll up our sleeves and develop a stronger reform agenda for the tourism sector.
“The Government needs to continue to invest in Tourism Australia and the fantastic work it does marketing Australia overseas – that is money well spent with research showing every dollar invested generates a $15 return.
“Reducing the regulatory burden of coming to Australia for business or holiday is crucial especially for the lucrative Chinese market. We are still charging Chinese visitors $135 for a visa when other nations are paying as low as $20.
“Improving the visitor experience at our international gateways with new biometric technologies should also be a priority.”