The Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) says the Federal Government missed a “key opportunity” to invest in tourism in handing down yesterday’s Budget.
TTF CEO Margy Osmond said that although the Budget delivered a boost for infrastructure projects that would support tourism, “it does not provide enough cash to really sell the product to the world”.
“The terrific tourism visitor figures announced days ago are the product of smart promotion,” she remarked, whilst also acknowledging the part a low dollar has played in growing international visitation.
“We cannot rest on our laurels and be complacent. To be a world leading destination you have to invest in the future with real ongoing increases in promotion funding.”
In a recent poll, TTF found that eight in ten (78%) Australians believed tourism bolsters the economy, while nearly six in ten (57%) believe that the government needs to invest more money to promote Australia overseas.
Ms Osmond called the $15.6 million rise in Tourism Australia (TA) funding “a relatively meagre increase and a more significant boost is needed to counter previous cuts”.
“There is no doubt that the Budget announcements around tax cuts and the surplus will boost consumer confidence and mean more Aussies will spend on tourism and hospitality,” she said.
Despite the Budget’s shortcomings, TTF welcomed the announcements of $50m to support tourism projects around the country, and “substantial” infrastructure commitments to increase access to regional Australia.
The biggest tourism boost in the Budget comes in the form of a $216 million upgrade to Kakadu National Park, which includes up to $70 million for roads to “open up Kakadu” and up to $111m for tourism infrastructure and attractions.
According to TA, international visitor expenditure in Australia in 2018 grew by 7% to $43.9 billion, which outpaced the 5% growth in arrivals at 9.2 million for the year.
India was Australia's fastest growing visitor market (+21% to $1.7 billion), while China remains the the biggest spender (+13% to $11.7 billion).
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