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Australia is exceeding its THRIVE 2030 tourism strategy goals ahead of schedule

A meeting of the nation’s Tourism Ministers has revealed some key results of Australia’s long-term tourism strategy.

The high cost of travel has helped Australia surpass its THRIVE 2030 strategy targets early.

Visitor expenditure targets set under Phase 1 of Australia’s THRIVE 2030 national strategy for tourism are already being met and exceeded, according to results tables at a meeting of Australian Tourism Ministers in Cairns today.

For the year ending June 2023, Australia’s inbound visitor spend hit $191.4 billion, with $79.9 billion of these receipts transacted in regional Australia, or just over 40 percent.

The original targets, intended to be met by the end of 2024, was for overall spend to reach $166 billion and for $66 billion of that to be transacted in the regions.

The meeting noted that expenditure had recovered much faster than overall arrival numbers, reflecting high travel costs and higher per-person average spends on leisure holidays.

Working holiday maker visas are up, which has led to a slight ease in workforce pressures.

Other key drivers of the strongly recovering inbound tourism sector included the reinstatement of Australia in China’s Approved Destination Scheme, along with the success of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in August.

The steady return of working holiday makers and international students also played a role, primarily in the easing of some workforce pressures across sectors such as hospitality, however a lack of applicable skills by these arrivals continues to leave some businesses struggling to find suitable staff.

Ministers also discussed initiatives to attract more visitors from Australia’s more mature source markets, such as Southeast Asia, with plans to roll out measures contained in a separate economic strategy in effect through to 2040.

Australia now has a formal framework to guide its sustainability strategy.

Another key outcome from the meeting saw Australia formally launch a new sustainability framework aimed at setting clear standards for tourism businesses to strive for.

The new National Sustainability Framework works to give individual businesses a set of clear guidelines on how they can modify their business to be more environmentally friendly.

The launch of the framework comes in response to data showing 74 percent of travellers are actively looking for more sustainable options when they travel.

To support its launch, the Government has released a Sustainable Tourism Toolkit which provides a variety of easy to digest resources that businesses can use to improve their carbon footprint.

Resources include a selection of handy guides aimed at guiding tourism businesses to manage their sustainability journey through social impact, respecting culture, managing natural resources and biodiversity and more

Tourism businesses of all sizes can access a toolkit to help improve their carbon footprint.

“Sustainability is essential for the future success and competitiveness of Australia’s visitor economy. A sustainable, thriving tourism industry means jobs, growth, and infrastructure that benefits the community,” said Australian Tourism Minister, Senator Don Farrell.

“I encourage tourism businesses to use the Sustainability Toolkit and draw on the practical advice provided to make their business more sustainable.”

The Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) praised the government’s new framework, saying its existing sustainable tourism accreditation program will work in tandem to help businesses implement its guidelines.

The organisation’s suite of training and accreditation programs have received $8 million in funding from the government to date, which will be used to ensure more than 3,000 participating businesses recognise and align with its benchmarks.

“It is important to ensure Australia’s tourism offerings will be enjoyed for generations to come and we are proud to have already supported a significant number of businesses in their sustainability efforts,” said ATIC Chief Executive, Erin McLeod.

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Written by: Matt Lennon
Published: 24 November 2023

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