Australia's Travel & Tourism industry in danger of losing its competitiveness.
Friday, 4th April 2014
Source : World Travel & Tourism Council
Travel & Tourism in Australia risks becoming a 'Cinderella industry' ignored and neglected - when it has the potential to deliver the jobs and economic growth needed to drive forward the whole economy.

That is according to the CEO and President of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), who has been in Australia this week for meetings with the private sector and the Government.

David Scowsill, CEO and President of WTTC, says that Australia is potentially going to lose its competitiveness on the international stage;

"For many years, Australia has done the right things to make the country attractive to tourists, but it can no longer ride high on its previous success with its traditional trading partners. It needs to adapt to the opportunities on its doorstep. In Travel & Tourism, Australia has an industry which can create jobs and drive economic growth, but it needs the right policies to flourish. Travel & Tourism supports one in eight of all jobs in the Australian economy, but it risks being treated like Cinderella neglected, ignored and shut-away."

David Scowsill continues: "Australia makes it difficult for many people from fast-growing Asian economies to enter the country. Its current visa policy is unequal, with e-visas not available for fast growing economies in Asia like China and Indonesia. It has one of the highest levels of air tax in the world. "

"We're heartened by the news that Australia and New Zealand will issue a joint visa for the ICC Cricket World Cup next year. This is a step in the right direction. But Australia now needs to make sure it brings in more visa facilitation improvements".

According to new research published today by WTTC, the long-term forecasts for the Australian Travel & Tourism industry are much lower compared to the rest of the Asia Pacific region.
  • The contribution of Travel & Tourism to the APEC countries is forecast to grow by 4.8% every year for the next 10 years more than double the Australia rate of 2.4%
  • Travel & Tourism in the Asia Pacific countries is forecast to grow by 6.1% every year for next 10 years almost three times the Australia rate
  • Employment is set to increase by 2.7% in both the APEC and Asia Pacific countries, way above the 0.3% that is forecast for Australia
  • Investment over the next 10 years in the Travel & Tourism sector is expected to increase by 6.8% per year in Asia Pacific; 5.8% per year in APEC and only 2.8% per year in Australia.
The research also provides clear evidence of the importance of Travel & Tourism to Australia, when compared to other industries which attract a greater level of Government attention and support:
  • The 1.4 million employed in Travel & Tourism is more than double the 670,000 employed in banking
  • Mining employs 1.2 million people; 200,000 fewer than Travel & Tourism.
Mr Scowsill is urging the Australian government to seize the opportunities presented by the Travel & Tourism industry and is advising the Government to consider the following three-point plan to ensure its continued global competitiveness:-

1. Simplify the Australian visa entry process to make it more welcoming for visitors from Asian countries e.g. provide an online visa application process, introduce applications in other languages, introduce multiple year and multiple entry visas for more countries and collaborate with near neighbours with joint visas and shared visas.

2. Freeze the level of the Passenger Movement Charge permanently to reduce the drain on the industry and start a process for reducing it over time. Implement a full economic impact assessment of the PMC. WTTC's research on Air Passenger Duty in the UK found that scrapping it there would create 90,000 jobs and add 4.2bn to the UK economy. Spend more of the receipts on international marketing to bring in more visitors, which will in turn increase the tax income from the PMC.

3. Grant permission to construct the second airport in Sydney. The master plan to double traffic at the existing airport by 2033 provides a sensible approach but a second airport will be needed to accommodate long-term growth, particularly from Asia. Given the lengthy timeframes involved in the planning and construction of airport infrastructure, a decision needs to be made now to proceed with the second Sydney airport.

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is the global authority on the economic and social contribution of Travel & Tourism. It promotes sustainable growth for the industry, working with governments and international institutions to create jobs, to drive exports and to generate prosperity.

APEC countries are:
Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, United States, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Peru, Russia, Vietnam

Asia Pacific countries are:
Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Other Oceania, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, Vanuatu, Vietnam
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