The International Visitor Survey shows overseas visitors to Australia increased by 9% in 2004, but we have a number of ‘big picture’ issues to address for this pattern to continue according to Matthew Hingerty, Managing Director of the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC). Some interesting points he makes:
(1) 60% of visitors were on at least their second trip to Australia, but of real concern is that only 35% of Japanese visitors – our second largest market – were repeat visitors. We need to work out why they are not coming back.
(2) Apparently the education market has huge potential. Though it is only 6% of actual visitors, compared to 53% for holiday makers, it makes up 27% of all international visitor nights and Tourism Australia is targetting Japanese school excursions.
(3) The biggest issue was quality – from tackling the problem of illegal ‘rogue’ operators who misrepresented and overcharged, to finding and retaining quality staff…..
‘The practice of dodgy operators grossly overcharging and misguiding visiting tour groups specially from key Asian markets – is a serious problem…to that end we applaud the Queensland Government for its active and energetic enforcement of its new Tourism Services Act, in cooperation with the National Compliance Taskforce’.
(4) ‘As the Working Holiday Visa scheme currently stands, foreigners, commonly backpackers, can only be in Australia for a maximum of one year and during that time can only work for three months at a time. This means that many employers, in hospitality for example, who rely heavily on staff on the Working Holiday Visa scheme, find it very difficult to maintain an experienced and stable workforce. We now need to bring our programs into line with other countries such as New Zealand and the UK, both of which permit working holiday visa holders to live and work for between one and two years in their countries.’
Kerri Anderson – National Media and Communications Manager, ATEC
Ph: (02) 8302 2401 / 0407 379 362
NB Victorian Tourism Minister John Pandazopoulos has slammed the Federal Government’s $8million ‘See Australia’ campaign designed to retain perhaps 5% of the $12 billion (!) Australians spend going overseas each year. The campaign was launched at Melbourne’s ‘iconic’ Fed Square but Victoria’s regional destinations have not been mentioned, nor have any events apart from the Commonwealth Games.
This, he says, undermines an excellent State Government domestic marketing campaign that has seen interstate visits to Victorian key regions (such as the Grampians, Gippsland and the Great Ocean Road) increase by a massive 33%, and, despite the fact that in the next financial year Victoria will host more major events than anywhere in the world, ever! He says Federal Liberal MPs have some explaining to do to their Victorian constituents about the poor level of consultation.