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Mixed reactions to Federal budget tourism spending

Mixed reactions to Federal budget tourism spending
April 3, 2019

The announcement of $50 million in funding for a Tourism Icons Package in Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg first budget has received a mixed reaction from tourism groups.

The Tourism Icons Package will provide Australian Government funding of $50 million over three years for a small number of flagship attractions in regional Australia, identified in consultation with the tourism industry.

The Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) welcomed the Package with Chair Evan Hall highlighting that Australia must invest in quality visitor infrastructure and experiences to grow and compete as a destination.

Hall explained “new attractions are critical to winning new and repeat visitors to Australia. Visitors are looking for new iconic tourism experiences in addition to the classic harbour, rock and reef attractions."

ATIC has been advocating for Federal funding for the next generation of Australian attractions as one of its Six Priorities for Growing Australia’s Tourism Industry, released in October 2018.

Hall advised “the Australian Government has a critical role in supporting economic-enabling infrastructure that stimulates regional visitation and the country’s tourism competitiveness

“ATIC will continue to work with the Australian Government on creating the next generation of iconic Australian tourism experiences."

While congratulating the Federal Government for achieving a surplus in the budget, the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) said it has missed a key opportunity when it comes to investing in tourism.

TTF Chief Executive Margy Osmond stated "the Budget has gone a long way to delivering much needed infrastructure to support the tourism industry but does not provide enough cash to really sell the product to the world.

“The industry hoped for a significant boost to our tourism promotion capacity.

“The terrific tourism visitor figures announced days ago are the product of smart promotion. We cannot rest on our laurels and be complacent. To be a world leading destination you have to invest in the future with real ongoing increases in promotion funding.

“We know that tourism is currently feeling a real boost from a low dollar in a very competitive international market.  While we acknowledge the announcement of a $15.6m increase in funding for TA over the forward estimates, it is a relatively meagre increase and a more significant boost is needed to counter previous cuts.

“There is no doubt that the Budget announcements around tax cuts and the surplus will boost consumer confidence and mean more Aussies will spend on tourism and hospitality."

Prior to the Federal Budget, TTF called on the Government to resist the urge to impose any additional taxes, fees or charges on the sector and improve infrastructure to make destinations easier and more attractive to visit.

The Government has listened on most these issues and TTF welcomed the announcement of the Icons Package and infrastructure commitments that will increase access to regional Australia.

TTF also welcomed the previously announced $216 million commitment for Kakadu National Park, although the budget provided little detail on its roll-out.

Funding for upgrades promised earlier in 2019 to help revamp Kakadu is listed, with the work slated to be undertaken by 2029, but there is no specific timeframe on how much would be spent each year over the forward estimates.

Images: Kakadu National Park (top) and TTF Chief Executive Margy Osmond (below).

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30th March 2019 - Tourism Association outlines government expenditure needed for industry growth 

13th January 2019 - Major parties make funding commitments to revive Kakadu’s tourism industry

16th January 2016 - Asian travellers seek new experiences

26th March 2019 - Federal Government to input $129 million to Adelaide’s cultural economy

21st August 2018 - Masterplan aims to reposition Jabiru as tourism and regional services hub

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