Australian tourists - EDITED

The Australian Government has committed AUD$180 million in this year’s Federal Budget to the tourism industry.

Australian Tourism Minister Gary Gray said this funding would promote Australia as a destination of choice and provide local firms with tools to grow their business and support jobs, innovation and quality.

“Tourists spend $107 billion a year in Australia, contributing $41 billion to national gross domestic product and directly generating more than half a million jobs,” Gray said.

“Through the national long-term tourism strategy, Tourism 2020, the Gillard Government is committed to growing the industry and is making this investment to increase visitors and give firms the confidence to develop new, world class tourism products.”

Tourism Australia will receive AUD$130 million to continue to market Australia as a tourism destination to international and domestic audiences, and AUD$12.5 million from the Asian Marketing Fund to boost its ability to attract Asian visitors.

“By making Australia the destination of choice for holiday makers, we can boost our economy, support jobs and attract investment,” Gray said.

Minister Assisting for Tourism, Senator Don Farrell, said tourism firms would be able to access AUD$18.7 million in matched funding in 2013-14 to develop quality tourism products through T-QUAL Grants and the Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund.

“The T-QUAL accreditation program will lift product quality and reward businesses who commit to higher customer service standards,” Senator Farrell said.

“And industry investment and innovation will be enhanced through the continuation of Tourism Research Australia’s research agenda, providing industry focused research to support operators make better informed commercial decisions.”

Gray said the Government was also helping tourism firms to save time and money when they developed new products through the continuation of the Tourism Major Project Facilitation Service.

“This funding is in addition to the industry’s access to programs like Enterprise Connect, the Export Market Development Grants and the Workforce Futures program that provide tourism firms with the funds to increase productivity, enter new export markets and address skills shortages and workforce planning issues,” Gray said.

“This year the Gillard Government is investing in industries like tourism to prepare for the future, putting jobs and economic growth first and protecting the important services that Australians rely on.

“We’re doing this to keep our economy one of the most resilient in the world – we have low unemployment, solid growth, contained inflation and low interest rates.”

According to the Australia Tourism Export Council (ATEC), the 2013/14 Federal Budget has “delivered a stable outcome for tourism which has largely protected Tourism Australia’s (TA) core funding”.

“While the base appropriation for TA maintains a level of around $130-135 million over the forward estimates, there is a significant increase to the marketing capacity available to TA through the Asia Marketing Fund (AMF) – which is tied to revenues collected via the Passenger Movement Charge(PMC),” said ATEC Managing Director, Felicia Mariani.

“In 2012/13 the PMC delivered $8.5 million for the AMF and this has been forecast to increase to around $12.5 million in the next financial year.

“In support of the tourism industry, the AMF provides additional marketing funds to TA while allowing dedicated research to better understand the Asian markets via Tourism Research Australia. The total funding via the AMF is projected to increase to around $54 million through to the 2016/17 forward estimates.

“Another PMC deliverable is the Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund (TIRF) which will increase to $11.1M this year, up by some $4 million over the current year, and will provide up to $48 million over 4 years in the forward estimates period.

“This must all be kept in context, however, as the PMC collection out to 2016/17 is projected to raise some $1.1 billion for the Government and the tourism industry will receive a mere 10% of that tax to benefit the source that fuels its performance.

“In the 2007/08 Financial Year, the Government collected $412M through the PMC, a tax that was originally applied to all departures to cover the cost of passenger facilitation by the Customs and Border Protection Services. The cost of delivering these services was around $192 million in 2007/08.

“In the 2013/14 budget year, the PMC will generate some $862 million to the Government coffers while the cost of passenger facilitation in the same period will be a cost of just $220 million.

“Clearly, while the cost of servicing our international departures has increased marginally, the fund has more than doubled in its revenue raising capacity delivering the Government an enormous windfall to its bottom line,” she said.