Tourism bosses clash on budget measures

Australian tourism bosses appear to be at odds over the pros and cons of the budget with one hailing it as a boost for marketing and the other likening the result as forcing the industry to fight “with one hand tied behind its back”.
The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) welcomed the $36.7 million budget top up announced for Tourism Australia, saying it would “help the industry continue on its strong growth path”.
Meanwhile, the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) said it was disappointed that the government has ignored industry calls to increase marketing funding in real terms.
ATEC managing director Peter Shelley said “This funding will ensure our marketing dollar continues to deliver for our industry despite fluctuations in the exchange rate
“Other measures such as small business tax breaks, investment in expanding our trade agreements and Australia Week events and around $26 million to establish international border clearance services for airports in Townsville and the Sunshine Coast, will also help to support and grow international tourism into regional Australia.”
But TTF CEO Margy Osmond said no new money for tourism marketing meant “Australia is fighting with one hand tied behind its back.”
She continued, ““Despite raking in more taxes than ever from visitors, including the Passenger Movement Charge which will collect $1 billion in revenue for the government in 2015-16, funding for tourism marketing has failed again to increase and is falling further behind in real terms.
“If this trend continues, Australia will be overtaken by countries hungry to support their tourism industries.
“It is disappointing that the government has not taken the bold steps it needs to support the jobs engine that is the visitor economy.”
However, both chiefs agreed that visa fee increases and the imposition of a so-called ‘backpacker tax’ would do little to help the industry.
Shelley said, “Today’s traveller is highly discerning and price sensitive, and visa fee hikes present an added barrier which can work against even the best marketing effort.
“Also of concern is the impact of changes to working holiday maker visa fees and the removal of the tax-free threshold that will affect around 200,000 youth travellers who visit Australia each year and spend an average of $13,000 during their stay.
“While many working holiday visa visitors do not register for the tax free threshold, promotion of additional costs for the application fee and in-country, will likely have a detrimental effect on Australia’s desirability as a destination for these visitors and many others.”
Osmond put her objections more strongly.
“Ripping more than half a billion dollars from the visitor economy with a new ‘backpacker tax’ is simply ridiculous,” she said, before adding, “Increasing visitor visa application charges is sending Australia in the wrong direction.

One thought on “Tourism bosses clash on budget measures

  • May 20, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    I am not sure that effective international and local marketing is correlated with industry groups or statutory bodies existing or preferred activity?

    While the whole world is now online, the Australian tourism and travel industry, like international education, lack digital technology or marketing leadership*, while still deferring to one off PR, physical events and conferences with short term promotions and hopefully sales.

    However, in the digital economy (and old) the best way to assess marketing and sales channels is bottom up, i.e. asking the travellers and tourists what they think, not imposing what management prefers.

    From this small operators and larger can make a good inbound organic digital strategy which is contingent upon know how and skills, not budget or physical sales.

    *Still a paradox in Oz that ATDW can produce leading edge or innovative digital marketing package, but which has been taken on board mostly by competitors internationally….


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