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Federal Government scraps tourism quality assurance scheme commitment

Federal Government scraps tourism quality assurance scheme commitment
July 2, 2014

The Federal Government has gone back on its election promise to transfer Australia’s national tourism quality assurance scheme (T-QUAL) to industry, axing it instead.

In a communication sent on Monday (30th June) to industry stakeholders and tourism operators, Austrade advised that the T-QUAL scheme would cease to operate at 5pm that day.

The email communication also instructed businesses to withdraw all marketing and promotional materials bearing the T-QUAL symbol.

Ecotourism Australia has called the direction “completely unreasonable" for tour operators, especially as it comes during the busy school holiday period.

In the run up to the 2013 Federal election, the Federal Coalition's 'Policy for Tourism' committed to "returning accreditation to industry", stating "an elected Coalition Government will ensure the Tourism Quality Council of Australia and the T-QUAL Accreditation scheme both return to industry by providing $600,000 to transition responsibility for accreditation of tourism products to industry."

The National Tourism Alliance, which had submitted a bid to run the T-QUAL scheme on behalf of industry, has asked Austrade for an opportunity to rework the proposal.

In the wake of T-QUAL being scrapped, shadow Federal Tourism Minister Anthony Albanese has stated "Tony Abbott’s mishandling of Australia’s $107 billion tourism sector has reached a new low.

"It is clear his real policy for tourism is to vacate the space entirely and withdraw support for the sector wherever he can.

"The decision to axe the T-QUAL scheme with no notice deliberately undermines tourism operators, many of them small businesses, and will damage Australia’s reputation overseas."

The National Tourism Alliance, the only respondent in the tender process to run a tourism quality assurance scheme on behalf of industry, has asked Austrade for an opportunity to rework the proposal. It has yet to receive a response.

The T-QUAL Tick is the Australian Government's national symbol of tourism quality.

Tourism businesses that carry the T-QUAL Tick have undergone rigorous assessment to ensure they deliver a quality experience.

Click here for more information on T-QUAL. 



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