The gap between inbound and outbound tourism numbers continues to grow on the back of a strong Aussie dollar, according to a report from the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF).
The report said the differential between international visitors coming to Australia and Australians travelling overseas is forecast to be 1.2 million in 2010.
Executive director of the TTF Brett Gale told delegates at last week’s Tourism Futures Conference in Brisbane the strong Australian dollar was a contributory factor. He urged the industry to focus on emerging markets and make tourism development easier.
Gale added: “We need to cut through the red tape and regulation and make it easier to come up with new tourism product, whether it is allowing eco-sensitive development in our natural landscapes or new hotels in our cities. The red tape gets in the way and we can’t offer things that overseas visitors want.”
Meanwhile, Access Economics director Chris Richardson said a strong dollar would not necessarily hurt inbound tourism numbers in the long term as people become more prosperous in emerging economies. However, he warned Australia’s share of that new business would be determined by exchange rates.
“You can have brilliant marketing campaigns and all the rest of it, but the Australian dollar rules ‘the dollars’ as far as travellers are concerned,” he said.