ATEC View: Further Govt Commitment Needed

ATEC low resBy Peter Shelley, managing director ATEC

ATEC has been pursuing an important agenda this year with the aim of supporting our members, and the broader tourism industry, to be more competitive and capable of engaging in the international tourism marketplace.

From bringing down the barriers to growth through visa reform, increased air capacity and taxation amendments, to building engagement with international markets, and via education and training designed to help tourism businesses understand and access the export tourism environment.

It is now clear that the economy is no longer led by the mining sector and the value of tourism exports is beginning to show its true strength.  In the near future, the contribution export tourism will make to the Australian economy will grow to more than $33 billion and annual international visitor numbers will surpass 7 million.  We are a growing industry that has shown an ability to weather the ups and downs of global impacts and remain a competitive Australian export.

In last month’s Federal Budget, the Government went some way to acknowledging the importance of our industry by providing additional funding for Tourism Australia’s international marketing effort.  This money will only ‘top-up’ TA’s marketing budget, which has been eroded by the slump in the Australian dollar, and its in-market advertising buying power.  We know that each dollar of marketing money spent creates an additional $15 for our economy so a real commitment of new money from the Government would be more beneficial in growing our visibility on the international tourism stage.

There were also some negative tourism messages sent out through the Budget, with visa fee increases and the removal of the tax-free-threshold for working holiday makers, and they will present an added barrier which can work against the best marketing effort.

Both industry and governments must focus on the future growth of export tourism and maximising our visibility in the international market.  For ATEC’s part, we have commenced the redevelopment of our Export Ready program that will deliver an industry based training program to assist businesses to make strong and informed decisions for growth.

ATEC is also focused on some of the barriers to growth including visa applications and processing.  Our members have told us there are visa issues in a number of markets including South America, Indonesia and China and we are establishing a Visa Reference Panel to help capture issues from different markets and give these concerns a voice.  We will look to use global benchmarking studies to demonstrate where Australia is falling behind in progressive policy development and ways we might improve.

With all the positives in our industry we are excited to be heading to the annual ATE in Melbourne this year where more than 100 Australian tourism sellers will be attending for the first time.  This is a doubling of new product numbers from previous years and a great sign for the future.  As part of our commitment we will once again be providing Mandarin speaking translators for our members and, for the first time this year, we will be extending our offering to Korean and Japanese translators too.  This has been a highly popular service and has proved to be a valuable advantage for ATEC members at ATE. I look forward to seeing our members and the rest of the industry in Melbourne.

ATEC has been pursuing an important agenda this year with the aim of supporting our members, and the broader tourism industry, to be more competitive and capable of engaging in the international tourism marketplace.

From bringing down the barriers to growth through visa reform, increased air capacity and taxation amendments, to building engagement with international markets, and via education and training designed to help tourism businesses understand and access the export tourism environment.

It is now clear that the economy is no longer led by the mining sector and the value of tourism exports is beginning to show its true strength.  In the near future, the contribution export tourism will make to the Australian economy will grow to more than $33 billion and annual international visitor numbers will surpass 7 million.  We are a growing industry that has shown an ability to weather the ups and downs of global impacts and remain a competitive Australian export.

In last month’s Federal Budget, the Government went some way to acknowledging the importance of our industry by providing additional funding for Tourism Australia’s international marketing effort.  This money will only ‘top-up’ TA’s marketing budget, which has been eroded by the slump in the Australian dollar, and its in-market advertising buying power.  We know that each dollar of marketing money spent creates an additional $15 for our economy so a real commitment of new money from the Government would be more beneficial in growing our visibility on the international tourism stage.

There were also some negative tourism messages sent out through the Budget, with visa fee increases and the removal of the tax-free-threshold for working holiday makers, and they will present an added barrier which can work against the best marketing effort.

Both industry and governments must focus on the future growth of export tourism and maximising our visibility in the international market.  For ATEC’s part, we have commenced the redevelopment of our Export Ready program that will deliver an industry based training program to assist businesses to make strong and informed decisions for growth.

ATEC is also focused on some of the barriers to growth including visa applications and processing.  Our members have told us there are visa issues in a number of markets including South America, Indonesia and China and we are establishing a Visa Reference Panel to help capture issues from different markets and give these concerns a voice.  We will look to use global benchmarking studies to demonstrate where Australia is falling behind in progressive policy development and ways we might improve.

With all the positives in our industry we are excited to be heading to the annual ATE in Melbourne this year where more than 100 Australian tourism sellers will be attending for the first time.  This is a doubling of new product numbers from previous years and a great sign for the future.  As part of our commitment we will once again be providing Mandarin speaking translators for our members and, for the first time this year, we will be extending our offering to Korean and Japanese translators too.  This has been a highly popular service and has proved to be a valuable advantage for ATEC members at ATE. I look forward to seeing our members and the rest of the industry in Melbourne.

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