Tourism Australia and Destination NSW share their good news for 2016
In an earlier edition of ETB Travel News I reported that Australia was enjoying a record year of tourism growth during 2016. On November 15, over 350 travel industry professionals gathered in Sydney for an industry briefing hosted by Tourism Australia and Destinations NSW. The Sydney briefing was one of a series of industry briefings given by Tourism Australia around Australia in association with the relevant state tourism board.
Tourism Australia CEO John O’Sullivan reported that in the year 01 July 2015- 30 June 2016, international tourism arrivals to Australia had reached 7.8 million representing a 10.8% growth over the previous 12 month figure. Tourism earnings from international visitors had grown by 14.8% to AUD$38.1 billion. Overall tourism expenditure from both international and domestic tourism now exceeds AUD$97 billion.
The growth in Australian tourism was four times the overall growth of the Australian economy during that period. Source markets which were leading the growth in tourism to Australia were led by China but there was significant growth in tourism from the USA, Korea, Japan, India and Indonesia. the surge in growth during 2015-16 meant that Australian tourism was tracking at the mid point of its 2020 tourism strategic targets. If the growth continues at the current rate the most optimistic targets of the 2020 strategy of tourism contributing AUD130 billion dollars to Australian economy are achievable. Australia currently ranks 1st in the world in per-capita tourism expenditure and length of stay. Part of Australia’s success over the past year was due to external factors such as the drop in the Australian dollar’s exchange rates against other key currencies, the reduction in fuel prices which had led to cheaper air fares and Australia being preceived as a safe destination by comparison with many other parts of the world.
However, as Tourism Australia’s Marketing chief, Lisa Ronson pointed out, Tourism Australia and the state tourism boards conducted an effective and well targeted range of marketing campaigns which had focused on experiential, high yield travellers who sought to come to Australia to experience Australia’s unique offerings of culture, cuisine, wildlife and scenery. Tourism Australia was a world leader in the employment and deployment of social media. Currently Tourism Australia has over 7.4 million Facebook friends, far more than any destination Marketing organization in the world. Campaigns to highlight Australia’s cuisine (Restaurant Australia) at its recently released coast and aquatic Australia campaign had enhanced Australia’s destination attributes to the global tourism market.
Glen Davis, Tourism Australia’s Industry relations manager stressed the ease with which tourism professionals could work with Tourism Australia in Australia and globally to enhance the reach of the Tourism Australia message. Dan Williams from Austrade which is the Australian government’s tourism policy arm was investing considerable time and resources to enhance tourism research. It also ensures Australia’s adherence to China’s Preferred Destination Status and enhancing visa processing to enable tourists coming to Australia can do so with minimal bureaucratic delay.
Sandra Chipchase, CEO of Destinations NSW pointed out that New South Wales and in particular – Sydney was a key deriving force for national tourism growth. Ms. Chipchase pointed out that the opening of Sydney new International Conference Centre would provide a quantum leap in Sydney’s capacity to host conferences and conventions.
Events such as Vivid in Sydney and a range of major events in regional NSW are attracting many thousands of new tourists to the state. Destinations NSW was strongly committed to dispersing the benefits of tourism throughout the state and she was proud in the strong growth of regional tourism in NSW. While the growth of tourism is great news for the Australian tourism industry it poses challenges to match infrastructure with demand. Australian tourism is dealing with a skills shortage and this presents a challenge to educational and training institutions to address the shortage of talent at all levels of the tourism industry.
The popularity and high growth of cruising, in and out Australia and especially in Sydney presented the challenge of finding places to berth the surge of cruise ships sailing to and sailing from Sydney. As the briefing indicated, Australia’s problems in dealing with the consequences of record tourism growth are likely to be the envy of most of the world.
As John O’ Sullivan wisely stated, no destination can afford to take this growth for granted.
Full coverage of the briefing can be found HERE