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Budget a good start for tourism, but more to be done

The Australian tourism industry has welcomed the Federal Government’s attention to the crucial sector in tonight’s Budget, but calls for more to be done to assist with post-pandemic recovery.

“We welcome the suite of dedicated initiatives that will support the progress of recovery and capitalise on the potential of the visitor economy,” Australian Chamber – Tourism executive chair John Hart said.

“It is positive to see Government delivering on its pre-election commitments in tourism, which will address some real needs.”

This includes measures to address the sector’s labour and skills shortages through a commitment to deliver additional fee-free TAFE and vocational education places in industries with skills shortages, such as tourism and hospitality, as well as a marketing program to attract workers.

“A promotional campaign to re-position the image of the industry in the mind of potential jobseekers, both local and international, and encourage career pathways in tourism and hospitality is something Australian Chamber – Tourism has been calling for and strongly supports,” Mr Hart said.

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Tourism as an industry is crucial in helping the Government get the Budget back into balance through international visitation. Prior to COVID-19, Australia welcomed 9.5 million international visitors a year, spending $45.4 billion.

“Before COVID-19, Australia was one of the highest yielding destinations in the world. It’s essential to invest in tourism recovery and get the export revenue back to boost the Budget for next year,” Mr Hart said.

The tourism sector is supportive of the allocation to support marketing in the tourism and travel sectors in tonight’s Budget but more is needed when international competition for high value visitors is so high.

“A greater investment in targeting marketing initiatives to accelerate international tourist and backpacker arrivals will increase Australia’s capacity to attract visitors in a highly competitive international market,” Mr Hart said.

The Australian tourism industry looks forward to further initiatives in the next full Budget in May.

“While this is a strong start in a shortened Budget period, it is crucial that the policy settings support the success of the tourism industry and we look forward to the opportunities to drive long-term sustainable growth in the next full Budget year,” Mr Hart said.

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