ATEC welcomes modest tourism budget amidst a $7.1bn surplus

PM Scott Morrison has unveiled the Federal Budget ahead of the election.

The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) has welcomed the Government’s Federal Budget which will see $50 million invested in developing ‘tourism icons’ in regional Australia.

This year’s Federal Budget has delivered a modest increase for tourism which includes an increase in funding for money to build new regional tourism icons, a continued freeze of the Passenger Movement Charge (PMC) and additional money for the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) program, according to ATEC managing director Peter Shelley said tonight.

“These are the kinds of products that will drive visitation and improve the economy of regional communities across the country while creating greater diversity, particularly for the inbound market,” he said.

“In a fiercely competitive international tourism marketplace, we are disappointed that Tourism Australia hasn’t received a commensurate amount of funding to support its vital role in driving demand at a time when our direct regional competitors are heavily investing.”

Shelley said the industry would welcome a further freeze to the PMC, which will be held at $60 – an issue ATEC has made strong representations on over many years.

“Disappointingly, the Government has increased the application fee for all visas, including those accessed by our high yielding backpacker market which will now face an additional $32 charge on their application,” he said.

“The additional $11m funding to continue support for our China market through the Approved Destination Status (ADS), and EMDG programs are both items high on our industry’s agenda, so we are glad the Government has taken notice of our calls for action.

“The Government has maintained its Building Better Regions Fund and ATEC is keen for this funding to be opened up to export training and development programs – an area which is currently excluded from the fund.

“All round, the budget has a number of positive elements for the export tourism industry, including measures to increase skilled migration to regional Australia, but the next step will be in delivering Government support for regional capability programs to help businesses service international visitors.”