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ATEC calls for forward analysis in regional tourism

ATEC calls for forward analysis in regional tourism
April 12, 2011

Following the release of the latest Tourism Research Australia (TRA) report, Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) Managing Director, Felicia Mariani believes more analysis needs to be done to better understand the changing demands of our core markets.

TRA's The Economic Importance of Tourism in Australia's Regions report shows the economic importance of the tourism industry to a region was not determined by the size of its tourism industry, with economies dependent on tourism vulnerable to unexpected shocks that can impact the entire local community.

Accepting that the report provides valuable information on where the industry has come from Mariani stated that "the report shows the economic importance of tourism is highest in Central NT, Phillip Island, the Whitsundays, Snowy Mountains and the West Coast of Tasmania.

"These examples highlight the need to improve infrastructure and connectivity to ensure the tourist dollar can easily connect with these areas and that these locations can provide the products and experiences tourists want when they get there."

Mariani believes that the TRA report shows our major and capital cities are taking the lion's share of tourism expenditure, but rank the importance of the tourism industry to their overall economy at the lower end of the scale.

"We can already see from high occupancy levels, and increasing room rates, that tourism visitation and expenditure in major cities is solid. Now we must focus on creating regional experiences that drives dispersal and allows these locations to achieve flow-on benefits from high demand in the gateway centres.

"Research and market analysis into understanding what experiences the consumers of tomorrow will be seeking - from both our traditional and new/emerging markets - a gap analysis of what experiences are missing to achieve this connection and sound destination management planning are all key elements to a successful tourism industry into the future."

Mariani said the NSW Government's recognition of the importance of regional tourism with a $5 million investment in developing tourism products was the kind of investment needed at a national level.

"It is vital we develop regional tourism plans to create real and lasting benefits for regional operators, allowing them to leverage the excess demand in our major cities for the benefit of regional areas.

"Creating new, high quality tourism experiences in regional areas is critical to ensuring both international and domestic tourists are enticed to look further and spread the tourism dollar widely across the country.

"While it is important to understand the detail of our tourism economy, we must do more research into where our industry is headed, what the market wants and where the opportunities lie in future so we can continue to successfully engage traditional markets while we grow new ones."

Image: The NSW Snowy Mountains.

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