This peak Aussie accommodation body has welcomed a record international tourim spend – but is more government investment needed for it to go the long haul?
Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) has welcomed record-breaking spending of more than $40.6 billion in international tourism – and the figures demonstrate the huge growth in both visitors and visitor nights’ right across the nation.
However, TAA CEO Carol Giuseppi has warned the latest International Visitor Survey (IVS) figures show most growth is still in the major capital cities and there are still major dispersal issues in the regional areas of many states.
“TAA welcomes news the record spend is being driven by record numbers of international tourists who are both spending more and staying longer, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne,” she said.
“This growth is being driven by hotel investment in commercial accommodation in capitals like Sydney and Melbourne.”
Both Sydney and Melbourne have over 12,000 rooms in their supply line, whilst smaller capitals like Adelaide and Hobart are also seeing strong levels of tourism-driven investment, despite having a lower amount of rooms in their supply line (1900 and 2300 respectively).
“Investor confidence in the capitals is being driven by Federal and State Government commitments to major tourism and urban infrastructure projects, new airport facilities and increased airline access,” Giuseppi added.
But more Government investment may be needed at both State and Federal levels to spread the benefits of the record numbers of tourists across regional areas of Australia.
“The IVS figures show while overall international visitor nights in Australia surged by 7.29 per cent in the year ending June 2017, international visitor nights spent in regional hotels, motels, resorts and serviced apartments in Australia only increased by 0.64 per cent,” Giuseppi said.
“Despite strong growth in visitors and visitor nights from key source markets like China and USA, regional dispersal of international tourists remains weak and lags behind growth in the capital cities.”
So what’s the good news? Thanks to the good ol’ Aussie Government, regional areas in NSW and Victoria are starting to see real tourism growth – because of a renewed focus by State Governments on developing regional tourism.
“The results are clear – regional NSW has had a 13.2 per cent increase in visitors and a 7.87 per cent increase in visitor nights while regional Victoria also demonstrated strong growth of 7.35 per cent in visitors and 18.16 per cent in visitor nights,” Giuseppi continued.
“Regional Australia currently represents 45 per cent of visitor nights and 44 per cent of visitor expenditure but these areas are crying out for more investment in both new and upgraded tourism infrastructure.”
On the back of the regional figures, TAA also renewed its call for the Federal Government to provide a long-term funding commitment for the Survey of Tourist Accommodation (STA).
“We remain concerned at the uncertainty that surrounds the STA,” Giuseppi said.
“Investors need data that supports their ability to secure finance from the banks – major hotel projects can take up to five years from conception to completion, so accurate long-term data is obviously a key component of the decision making process.
“Because of the diverse mix of accommodation options in regional areas, there is currently no other trusted source of data for regional Australia,” she added.