12 January 2012

Australian tourism industry calls for government support

While the Australian tourism industry continues to be propped up by an influx of Chinese and other Asian visitors, the decline in visitors from other nations has led the tourism sector to call for governmental help similar to what the car industry is expected to receive.

Australia visa

The Australian tourism industry believes it is just as deserving of the government's help as the car insustry.

Australian car manufacturer Holden, which is owned by American corporation General Motors, is expected to receive a major investment from the Federal and South Australian governments in order to try and persuade the industry to remain in the country.

However, John Lee from the Tourism and Transport Industry Forum claims the tourism industry is much more deserving of significant investment saying "[the car industry] employs one tenth of the number than our industry and yet they receive three times the amount of government funding"

"Tourism directly employs over 500,000 Australians right across the country and is a real economic driver of many regional areas" he continued.

Australia's booming mining trade has meant that the strength of the Australian Dollar allows more and more Australians to take their holidays abroad and get more for their money than they would at home. The vapid rate of recovery of much of the world's economies meanwhile has seen some of the traditional markets for Australian tourist visa holders shrink.

These two factors combined have seen concern in the Australian tourist industry grow. The increase in Chinese and other Asian visitors however has made up the numbers of Australia visa applications although according to Mr Lee, unless the Australian government begins to target these newly wealthy Asian tourists, this trend isn't likely to continue.

"It's about promoting our country to the rest of the world and there isn't enough money going into those emerging markets of China, India and Indonesia and we could easily do with some assistance to promote our great assets to the world" said Mr Lee.

He claimed that the automotive industry had received over AU$12 billion (£8 billion) in government support but, despite the industry's obvious contribution to the Australian economy, tourism is largely being neglected.

"There seems to be an imbalance and it is time to actually examine whether that level of funding should continue for that industry" concluded Mr Lee.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian High Commission.

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