Australian tourism industry calls for visa costs to be slashed

Ahead of the general election in Australia in July tourism officials are reminding politicians how important the industry is to the country’s economy and calling for visa costs to be slashed.

In particular the Tourism and Transport Forum Australia (TTF) is calling on all of Australia’s political parties to develop and announce positive policies that will support and enhance the continuing strong growth of Australia’s visitor economy.

“This election campaign needs to see some ambition from our political parties to get behind Australia’s visitor economy because it really has been one of the great economic success stories we’ve seen in recent time,” said Margy Osmond, TTF chief executive officer.

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“The challenge for all our political leaders is to back up their strong words of support for the tourism sector. We need to see positive policies that will allow the industry to reach its full potential as an economic wealth and jobs generator for Australia,” she explained.

“This is an area that we have continued to see a gulf between words and action in recent times. Now is the time for political parties to get real about support for the visitor economy sectors and the jobs and opportunities they can generate,” she added.

The TTF will be actively working during the campaign to encourage the adoption of policies that encourage more international visitors to travel to Australia. It is calling for visa costs to be slashed, a continued freezing of the Passenger Movement Charge. In particular it wants the upcoming backpacker tax to be scrapped and more investment in destination marketing and public transport and visitor infrastructure to make cities and regions more attractive destinations.

Osmond pointed out that Tourism is now generating $47.5 billion or 3% of the nations GDP and at 5.3% is growing three times faster than the total Australian economy.

The industry also supports 580,800 direct jobs and when related employment is taken into account nearly one million jobs, that is one in 10 Australians in the workforce. It also employs international students and backpackers working in Australia.

“Tourism has been an industry in which double digit growth on key indicators has been the norm and yet we are not getting the attention the industry deserves,” said Osmond.

The figures also show that in 2015 some 6.8 million international visitors visited Australia, up 8% and spent $36.6 billion, a rise of 18%.

“The Chinese market alone is growing at 22% with more than one million now coming to our country every year and spending $8.3 billion, some 25% of all international expenditure,” Osmond added.

Article Via: australiaforum

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