‘Once in a decade opportunity’ to set visitor economy in the right direction

The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) says the Federal Government’s proposed strategy to rebuild Australia’s visitor economy unveiled late last year provides a “once in a decade opportunity to get the foundations and strategic direction right”.

THRIVE 2030 (The Re-Imagined Visitor Economy) was released for consultation by Tourism Minister Dan Tehan for consultation in late November, with BECA pitching the case that the visitor economy must be valued and recognised for its contribution beyond visitor spend and jobs.

“This is a critical once in a decade opportunity to get the foundations and strategic direction right,” said BECA Secretary Andrew Hiebl.

“Given the major disruption that the visitor economy and business events industry has endured over the last two years due to Australia’s response to the global coronavirus pandemic, the next long-term strategy holds great responsibility.

“THRIVE 2030 must bring together an industry that has been hardest hit and inspire with a strategic vision that will drive our success through the decade ahead. It must provide a future focus and direction that the industry can rally behind and align its efforts. It must excite the nation!”

Prior to COVID-19, Australia’s strong and growing visitor economy earned over $166 billion in total visitor expenditure in 2019 and was the nation’s fourth largest exporter ahead of beef, petroleum and wool.

BECA says the industry has not gained the attention and recognition of Government that it deserves in comparison to its primary industry counterparts and recommends that for a whole-of-industry strategy to be successful, a whole-of-government approach is required – both interdepartmental and cross-portfolio.

“THRIVE 2030 must be designed in a way that gives the Australian Government reason to invest in the visitor economy and should be positioned as the centrepiece of Australia’s economic diplomacy and regional prosperity agenda,” said Hiebl.