Australia is missing out on billions in additional economic benefit, with new figures showing visitor spending is tracking below the bottom end of the Tourism 2020 targets, according to peak national industry body Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF).
TTF Acting Chief Executive Trent Zimmerman said significant reform and investment is needed to help Australia achieve its goals.
“The Tourism 2020 target is to increase overnight visitor spending to between $115 and $140 billion a year by the end of the decade, but at the moment we are not even going to reach the bottom end of that range,” Mr Zimmerman said.
PROGRESS ON THE TOURISM 2020 POTENTIAL – OVERNIGHT VISITOR EXPENDITURE
Source: Tourism Research Australia (2014) – Tourism Update, March quarter 2014
“TTF believes that with the right investment and policy frameworks, the $140 billion is an achievable target.
“The federal government and state and territory governments around the country have committed to the Tourism 2020 targets, however current investment in tourism is not sufficient to achieve those goals.
“A business as usual approach to tourism is simply not enough to reach the Tourism 2020 targets or for tourism to fulfil its potential as an economic development strategy for Australia.
“Additional government investment in tourism marketing is required to ensure Australia does not lose market share to countries that have not only recognised tourism’s potential to drive economic activity, create jobs and provide future prosperity, but have invested in tourism marketing and the infrastructure required to make that happen.
“We acknowledge that some jurisdictions have increased tourism marketing funding and acknowledge the public investment in demand-driving infrastructure like the International Convention Centre Sydney, the expanded Adelaide Convention Centre and the new Perth Stadium.
“We also appreciate that work is being done to improve visa processing, reducing the complexity and application timeframes, and to facilitate nature-based tourism activities.
“However, all jurisdictions must recognise the value of tourism marketing, with numerous studies showing a return on investment of between $8 and $16 for every dollar spent on international tourism marketing.
“Additional government funding would also facilitate extra private sector investment, delivering greater reach and frequency for campaigns in key markets.
“Tourism already supports more than 900,000 jobs around the country and generates $43 billion in GDP, but that contribution could be even greater, especially with the mining investment boom waning and heavy manufacturing continuing to decline.
“We are calling on the federal government and all states and territories to recognise the value and potential of tourism as an economic development strategy that can deliver future prosperity to Australia and to back their rhetoric with action.”