The federal government is ‘actively pursuing’ new working holiday maker arrangements with a ‘number of countries’, minister for small business Nick Sherry told the Adventure & Backpacker Industry Conference in Sydney last week.
He said: “With a strategy in place to unlock productivity and increase Australia’s presence internationally, and an upturn in global economic conditions, we are confident the working holiday maker program can return to positive growth in the coming year.”
Acknowledging the value of the sector to the Australian economy, Sherry added:
If backpackers were a country they would be our third largest destination market by volume and our largest by value. Despite popular myths and stereotypes, backpackers are high-yielding tourists and spend almost twice that of other international tourists.”
He pledged to reduce red tape through the National Long-Term Tourism Strategy and announced the government will be engaging a consultant with global expertise to identify how regulation impacts on tourism investment.
He added: “This will help to provide us with the evidence base to remove the unnecessary red tape that destroys jobs and productivity.”
For a full transcript of the minister’s speech, click here.