Government tourism strategy report two years late

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan has unveiled the government's tourism strategy report.

The Federal Government has released a proposed strategy to rebuild and reimagine Australia’s visitor economy.

The THRIVE 2030 strategy was developed by a panel of experts led by former Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson.

“Australia’s recovery from COVID-19 is gathering pace, with travel restrictions continuing to ease and we prepare to welcome back visitors from Japan and South Korea,” said Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan.

“The panel consulted extensively across sectors and identified three key ingredients for the future success of Australia’s visitor economy: the need to diversify markets and products, modernise business practices, and collaborate more closely.

“I invite tourism operators, state and territory governments and impacted sectors to have their say on the proposed THRIVE 2030 strategy to help make our sector even stronger.”

Assistant Minister for Regional Tourism Michelle Landry welcomed the release of the proposed strategy for consultation.

“The Reimagining the Visitor Economy strategy is our charted course for long-term growth of Australia’s visitor economy after the impact of COVID-19,” she said.

“In speaking with tourism businesses, Minister Tehan and I continue to hear about the difficult conditions the industry is experiencing, and we will continue to do everything we can to see the tourism industry prosper.”

The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) said the report provides a thorough outline of the challenges and opportunities ahead.

“Issues such as the significant deficit in our workforce, which will be critical to the success of tourism’s recovery, have been highlighted as a major focus for government’s nationally and the need to build the pathway to success from marketing to air capacity, visas, renewed product offering and building business capability,” said ATEC managing director Peter Shelley.

“Now is an important time for our industry and governments, working collaboratively, to look at opportunities to build the tourism industry of the future and many of the recommendations outlined in the report have highlighted ways we can do this from greater digital capacity, a stronger focus on value over volume, better data collection and promoting our nature and cultural offerings.”

But Australian Regional Tourism said the Government’s report was two years too late.

“We are pleased to see the release of the anticipated Reimagining the Visitor Economy Report and consultation being sought from industry on the long-term strategy, but very concerned with the timing of this release,” said Coralie Bell, Chair at Australian Regional Tourism.

“This draft strategy should have been released two years ago, and to release it and restrict industry submissions to the four-weeks leading up to Christmas isn’t good enough. Tourism operators that have been crippled over the past two years are now heading into the summer season and focused on getting doors open while navigating staff shortages during what is the most critical time to the industry.

“If the government want genuine conversations and partnerships on developing the most important piece of work to enable tourism recovery and growth into the future, they really need to better understand the needs of the people that they represent.

“We couldn’t be more disappointed with the mess created by this government in supporting the tourism industry back on its feet. It’s about time they got out of their bubble and into the regions to understand the difficulties being experienced in regional Australia right now.”

Feedback on the strategy is open until 23 December 2021.