Tourism

What does the Budget have in store for travel?

Hannah Edensor

We’ve already had a few sneak peeks into what the Federal Budget for 2017, but tourism is yet to grace the agenda. The budget will be handed down at approximately 7.30pm tonight.

So we’ve checked in with a few industry experts on what our beloved tourism industry needs to prosper with adequate government support.

The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) believes the continued success of the tourism industry will only be maintained if the budget delivers on policy fronts such as investment in global marketing campaigns, improved visa facilitation and more streamlined international access, to forward thinking labour force strategies.

Given the current state of Sydney’s cruise capacity causing immense trouble for the cruise industry globally, and Sydney Airport’s curfew a regular topic of heated debate, there are a number of areas tourism bodies are seeking change in from the Government.

A recent report also suggested the tourism industry could be down 10,000 jobs by 2020 at the rate the industry is moving.

Their attitude also supports the notion that marketing funds be maintained at real levels and travel related fees and charges, which negatively impact Australia’s competitiveness as a destination, be frozen.

“When the Federal Government hands down this week’s budget, ATEC would like to see sustained funding to enable Tourism Australia maintain its global competitiveness in promoting Australia as a quality travel destination, along with solid policy decisions to help Australia stand out in the pack,” ATEC Managing Director, Peter Shelley said today.

“Every element of Australia’s tourism marketing mix is critical to the future success of our export industry and we would be highly concerned by any reduction to Tourism Australia’s funding.”

Shelley said inbound tourism had grown to become Australia’s second largest export and, with the global travel and tourism sector forecast to grow faster than the wider economy, the Australian tourism sector is well positioned to deliver a ‘ten fold’ return on investment in terms of economic contribution and jobs.

“This budget needs to address a broad range of policy points that will support the continued success of our $40 billion industry and help to position Australia as the number one choice for international visitors.”

In its pre-budget submission, ATEC highlighted a number of areas and recommendations that would support the ongoing growth of our export tourism industry including:

  • Marketing investment – keeping Tourism Australia funding at real levels
  • Visa policy – ensure competitively priced visa fees
  • Labour and skills – implement visa reforms to provide for a flexible workforce and investment in new technology to match workers with employers
  • Build industry capacity – provide funds to establish a Tourism Industry Growth Centre

“We call on the Turnbull Government to provide genuine support for the thousands of Australian tourism businesses which are ‘punching above their weight’ on the global stage as they strive to grow market share against other highly competitive international tourism destinations.”

Meanwhile, in its own pre-budget submission, the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) Australia, issues including tourism destination marketing, airports, and cruise infrastructure all made the final document.

More specifically, TTF outlined exactly what the tourism industry needs to focus on first:

  • Tourism destination marketing
  • Commercial accommodation taxation
  • Business events
  • Tourism research
  • Visas:
    • Maintain the working holiday visa fee at $390
    • Assess visa pricing and processing issues
    • Trans-Tasman visa
  • Airports and Aviation:
    • Immigration pre-clearance
    • Passenger facilitation at international air terminals
  • Labour and skills
  • Ease capacity restrictions at Sydney Airport
  • Add additional cruise infrastructure for Sydney
  • Tourism Refund Scheme

 



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