Destinations

Claims Govt’ dishes out talk-the-talk, but won’t walk-the-walk

Sophie Harrison

It’s time for the Federal Government to get serious about its approach to regional tourism, says the Australian Regional Tourism Network.

“For too long now regional tourism has been the poor cousin for the Turnbull government,” said Mr. David Sheldon, Chair of the Australian Regional Tourism Network.

“The powers to be talk-the-talk but won’t walk-the-walk when we look at the influence regional Australia has on the overall Tourism Industry which is approx 45% of the $130 billion consumption.”

These are undoubtedly staggering figures. And with the Summer holiday season now in full swing, these recent figures are indicating why more Australians are choosing to holiday in Australia than ever before. According to the Regional Tourism Network, now is the time to set the foundations of the future.

In 2015–16, total tourism consumption in Australia increased 6.1% (or $7.5 billion).

Both domestic and international visitors contributed substantially to the total growth in visitor spending, with domestic spending up $4.1 billion and international spending up $3.4 billion on the previous year.

Again, these figures undoubtedly shed light on Regional Tourism as the social and economic enabler for Australia’s next generation.

“It is time this Government took its head out of the sand and developed next generation initiatives in collaboration with relevant agencies and both state and local governments to develop action plans for regional infrastructure and international dispersal that go beyond this short term vision ie: the backpacker tax grab,” remarked Sheldon.

“We all heard the government’s whiz bang initiative last year about the ‘Building Better Regions Fund’, but where are we and has this program been aligned with the planned boom of the Tourism Industry and the Regional Futures Australia program?”

The Australian Regional Tourism Network is urging the Prime Minister and Cabinet to adopt a cross portfolio commitment and enable a cabinet endorsed sub-committee to champion the development of a Tourism 2030 policy that incorporates regional infrastructure and dispersal initiatives.

“Such plans, which must include hard and soft wired NBN, are vital to attracting new commercial ventures and businesses to regions that create the opportunities for jobs, especially today’s youth sector which will enhance the social fabric of our regions and put a new leaf of life into many parts of regional and remote Australia.  This initiative is in line with the Prime Minister and Treasurer’s mantra of ‘Innovation, Jobs and Growth.”

“It’s time the Government took a macro look, as Tourism 2020 is just about upon us…it’s time to establish Tourism 2030, that embraces the nation and protects the social wellbeing of Australia,” concluded Sheldon.

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