The importance of major events as drivers of tourism has been emphasised by the results of the latest TTF-MasterCard Tourism Industry Sentiment Survey, with 96 per cent of senior industry executives supporting government involvement in securing and developing major events.
The TTF-MasterCard Tourism Industry Sentiment Survey has also found that concerns over the Australian dollar continue to ease, while concerns over labour shortages are growing in importance, now the second-ranked business impediment for tourism operators.
TTF Chief Executive Ken Morrison said the results highlight the contribution events make to the visitor economy.
“The TTF-MasterCard Tourism Industry Sentiment Survey has found near-universal approval among tourism operators for the role governments play in securing and developing major events,” Mr Morrison said.
“Government funding for event infrastructure like stadia and precincts was rated as highly or moderately important by 92 per cent of respondents, while the same proportion rated funding for transport infrastructure as highly or moderately important.
“In addition, 83 per cent would like to see visa processes streamlined to facilitate international attendance at Australian events.
“However, less than two thirds believe Australia is doing a good or very good job at securing and developing major events and 21 per cent say the quality and frequency of major events is among their top three business impediments.
“This shows the importance of major events to the tourism industry and underlines their contribution to the visitor economy.
“The survey results echo the findings in TTF’s Backing Major Events paper, where consumer research conducted by Repucom showed that 85 per cent of Australians believe it is important for government to support the delivery and marketing of major events.
“Event visitors stay longer and spend more than the average visitor, so events are vital to the tourism industry’s chances of reaching the Tourism 2020 goal of doubling overnight visitor expenditure.”
Mr Morrison said that the survey also indicated industry confidence has eased.
“The Quarter 1, 2014 TTF-MasterCard Tourism Industry Sentiment Survey has found that tourism operators believe conditions are easing, with expectations for the current quarter declining when compared to the previous quarter.
“Despite easing concerns about the exchange rate, sentiment around international tourism fell 8 points compared to Q1, while domestic sentiment expectations are down 14 points, although both remain above average for this time of year.
“The survey has seen a surge in concern over staffing, with concern over the shortage of skilled labour jumping 12 points compared to the same quarter last year, and now placed second behind the exchange rate as the top business impediment, with 28 per cent of respondents ranking it among their top three business impediments.
“In addition, concern over the shortage of unskilled labour has also jumped 7 points, with 17 per cent of executives ranking it among their top three concerns.
“With service levels critical to Australia’s international competitiveness, this is a worrying result and an issue that should be of concern to governments across the country.
“In fact, concern about business impediments to tourism operators was up almost across the board, with the dollar and taxes and charges on tourists the exceptions.”