Perspective – December 2011/January 2012
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Plaudits for Ferguson – and Sydney airport
THIS month’s launch of Tourism 2020 will only strengthen Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson’s reputation as one of the more competent members of the present Federal Government.
From the outset of his stint with the portfolio, Ferguson has eschewed the photo opportunities and travel perks that are part and parcel of international tourism marketing.
He has been content to leave that to the professionals, Geoff Dixon and Andrew McEvoy, he installed at Tourism Australia while he has focused on the less glamorous – but vital – supply side challenges of tourism infrastructure facing the industry.
Tourism 2020 is a significant update to the National Long Term Tourism Strategy and it reinforces the focus on supply side issues including productivity, innovation, digital technology, investment, transport capacity, labour and skills and Indigenous participation.
There seems no good reason to demur from the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) verdict that Tourism 2020 strengthens the path to tourism’s future.
“We welcome Minister Ferguson’s announcement of a stronger focus on these key areas,” said ATEC managing director Felicia Mariani.
Appropriately, Tourism 2020’s release coincided with news of significant new investment in one of Australia’s most vital pieces of tourism infrastructure – Sydney airport.
The “Right Future” terminal precinct plan for the airport has rightly attracted a chorus of approval from tourism industry leaders. Prominent among those enthusing over the improvements planned for Australia’s major gateway is Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy who said continued growth in both international and domestic aviation capacity is required if Australian tourism is to realise its 2020 growth aspirations.
He said Australian tourism needed Sydney Airport to do its “fair share of heavy lifting” –and this is happening with its management’s scheme for airline alliance precincts enabling the integration of international, domestic and regional terminals under one roof by 2019.
It is, said McEvoy, “a sound approach to maximising both the efficiency and customer appeal (of the airport)”.
ATEC managing director, Felicia Mariani, called the airport plan “a valuable improvement on key tourism infrastructure for both NSW and Australia”.
“This proposal will greatly increase Sydney Airport’s capacity and visitor experience which, as Australia’s major aviation gateway, is crucial to our ability to take full advantage of future tourism growth,” she said.
And Tourism Accommodation Australia NSW welcomed the prospect of “a better experience for travellers through faster connect times and more efficient airport operations”.
• As we race towards the climax of a hectic and often bruising 2011 for the travel and tourism industries, all of us at travelBulletin wish all our readers and supporters a joyous festive season. We look forward to working with you again in 2012 – let’s hope it’s a great year.