Tourism growth opportunities overlooked in Budget

The Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) is disappointed that the Federal Government has overlooked significant tourism growth opportunities for Australia in the 2017-18 Federal Budget.

Australia’s competitiveness in international tourism will be affected by a $14 million cut to Tourism Australia’s budget (from $143 million to $129+ million).

QTIC Chief Executive Daniel Gschwind said, “It is disappointing that Australia’s marketing effort in a highly competitive global market will be diminished when many countries seize the opportunity to tap into one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy.”

Skilled work visa reforms are also likely to be a big cost to business, including tourism operators in Queensland, affecting the supply of critical foreign workers in Queensland and burdening operators with increased visa costs.

Mr Gschwind said the tourism industry was also seeking $10 million for a national event bid fund which was once again overlooked in this budget.

“The Federal Government has missed an opportunity to compete more effectively for major conferences and events – in 2016, Australia missed out on 61 international conventions and saw an 11 per cent decline in overseas visitors travelling to Australia to attend a conference.”

The Great Barrier Reef was also overlooked for increased support, despite the Queensland tourism industry advocating strongly for further investment alongside conservation and agriculture groups.

Given the strong projected growth for tourism, Mr Gschwind said he hoped that the new Skilling Australia Fund will prioritise tourism occupations in the delivery of the program.    

Additional support for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games was welcomed as well as the indication that key infrastructure projects will be getting the go ahead in Queensland, including upgrades to the Bruce Highway and rail programs.

The continuation of the Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure Program is also welcomed, with funding for important regional projects in Queensland to capitalise on growth opportunities.

Mr Gschwind  said additional funds set aside for future disaster relief will also be warmly welcomed in Queensland, along with the government’s commitment of $3.5 million to the Queensland Government to fund tourism projects in areas affected by Cyclone Debbie.

Please click here to view a Factsheet with further information on what the Federal Government Budget 2017-18 means for Queensland tourism.

Click on image below to view video message from QTIC CEO Daniel Gschwind.