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Industry leaders question Australian Government’s backing for tourism
The Australian Government is facing criticism from industry groups and executives, over its decision not to appoint a dedicated tourism minister or parliamentary secretary.
The $42 billion national industry, recently identified by the Tourism Satellite Account as grow at a 50% greater rate than the Australian economy in 2012/13, has its representation split. Under the present Federal Government, Julie Bishop as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Andrew Robb, as Minister for Trade and Investment, take responsibility for international tourism while Ian Macfarlane, Minister for Industry and Bob Baldwin, Parliamentary Secretary for Industry, have responibility for domestic tourism under the industry portfolio.
The Australian newspaper recently reported AOT Group Chief Executive Andrew Burnes as saying that Australia not having a federal minister managing the tourism portfolio was "extremely disappointing".
Burnes stated "for an industry that employs 700,000 Australians and is sustainable and does not rely on handouts, and is economically viable, the Commonwealth needs to rethink its position."
Australian Regional Tourism Network (ARTN) Chairman David Sheldon is also questioning the Federal Government's commitment, citing the new Government's lack of engagement with regional Australia's peak body, a body that represents a large cross sector of industry participants.
Sheldon told Australasian Leisure Management that "prior to the Federal election (we) had a fantastic working relationship with both sides of Government.
"The then shadow Minister was in constant contact with the Network familiarising himself with issues of the tourism Industry in regional Australia ... this was greatly appreciated."
However, the Federal election and the Federal Government's mixed messages regarding the portfolio's responsibilities, the ARTN is concerned that the relationship is taking one step forward and two steps back.
The Australian Regional Tourism Network has recently made contact with four ministerial offices that relate to regional tourism but the reponse, Sheldon commented "can only be describes politely as being 'duckshoved'.
"Regional tourism stakeholders are confused by the new portfolio arrangements, concerned at the direction for Tourism Australia to withdraw from domestic marketing, and in many cases angry that their substantial efforts in applying in good faith for the rigorous Round Two Tourism Industry Regional Development grants (TIRF) has been trashed."
The ARTN highlight that it was not that long ago that both sides of Government were "spruiking" the contribution regional tourism would make in attaining the Government's 2020 goal.
Sheldon added "the new Federal Government now seems to forget that regional Australia contributes over 50% to overnight expenditure and thus plays a vital role in doubling the expenditure by 2020."
21st October 2013 - ATEC WELCOMES ANTHONY ALBANESE’S SHADOW TOURISM ROLE
16th September 2013 - SPORT GETS CABINET LEVEL POST IN PRIME MINISTER-ELECT TONY ABBOTT’S FIRST MINISTRY
5th September 2013 - COALITION RELEASES ELECTION POLICY FOR TOURISM
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