The Tourism and Transport Forum Australia (TTF) has welcomed the newest overseas arrival figures as a great start to the year and called on all levels of government to work with the tourism and transport industries to develop a strong growth agenda for Australia’s visitor economy in 2017.
The latest ABS Overseas Arrivals figures released this week confirm that 8.2 million people travelled to Australia over the 12 months to November 2016 – up 11.3 per cent on the previous year.
“Last year was a year of tax hikes and fee increases on the tourism and transport industries with the backpacker tax and the increase in the holiday tax – the Passenger Movement Charge – to $60,” said Margy Osmond, TTF CEO.
This year must be about the government keeping its hands out of the pockets of the industry so we can reach our full potential as a wealth and jobs generator for the nation.
“Today’s excellent figures don’t happen by accident or good fortune. It’s the hard work of industry and tourism authorities to promote Australia as a must-see destination for international visitors at a time when they can choose from anywhere in the world to travel – it’s a cut-throat competition and we cannot afford to take our eye off the ball for a second.
“While China continues to grab the headlines this year as it is anticipated to overtake New Zealand as our largest single visitor source market, we should not ignore the impressive growth we are experiencing in other Asian markets such as India (11.5 per cent) Singapore (12.1 per cent), Hong Kong (12.6 per cent) Malaysia (15.7 per cent), Japan (22.2 per cent) and South Korea (27.2 per cent).
“In the coming years we are going to see a surge of visitors that will want to experience what we have to offer and we need to ask ourselves right now are we ready to handle the millions of new visitors on their way?”
“We need to make 2017 a year in which government and industry sit down together as part of a high level discussion on what actions we need to implement to make sure our infrastructure from our airports and cruise terminals to our roads and public transport to our accommodation offering and our attractions are ready to meet the massive growth in demand,” she said.