21 April 2010

Head of tourism council says population debate will not affect Australian working holiday maker numbers

The population growth debate should not be confused with tourism or the influx of working holiday makers, Australia's largest tourism conference being held in Hobart heard this week.

Australian Working Holiday

Australian Working Holiday makers and other tourists are valuable to the country, a conference heard.

Managing director of Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC), Matt Hingerty, said it would be disastrous for the tourism industry to blur the line between the population growth debate and incoming visitors.

Mr Hingerty said Australian Working Holiday makers and other tourists were valuable to Australia and that part of his job would be to make sure any debate of this kind has no impact on the tourism industry.

 “If a backpacker stays here for six months they're responsible for nearly $25,000 worth of expenditure," Mr Hingerty said at the ATEC Backpackers and Youth Industry Conference.

"They bring so much money into the economy, they circulate it around, they take it from the capital cities to the regional centres where it's desperately needed, particularly in remote centres.

"But also who could imagine Sydney, or St Kilda, the Gold Coast, Brisbane or Darwin and Cairns without the backpacker industry? They're a very important and unheralded part of what we are as a nation, and we must never allow them to be included in the debate about population," he said.

Australia has be debating the effects and benefits of a greatly increased population after the Australian Bureau of Statistics released figures showing Australian will reach 35 million people by 2050.


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