The tourism industry affects everyone in one way or another, from providers and travellers through to hopeful professionals undertaking tourism courses. Even everyday Australians who may not travel much themselves benefit indirectly from a flourishing economy pumped up by tourism spending, so it makes sense that the government is increasingly focusing on tourism as one of our major revenue gatherers.
Tourism Research Australia has released an updated State of the Industry report in October 2014, which showcases the nation's ongoing developments in the tourism industry. Over the past five years, the report states, tourism has continued to grow as a key part of Australia's economy, contributing 2.8 to Australia's annual Gross Domestic Product. It's so important to the nation that Deloitte has recognised it as one of five 'super-growth sectors' to watch.
This year has seen record international visitor expenditure, with both UK and Chinese travellers bolstering growth. Alongside these international visitors bringing money to our shores, domestic trips have increased steadily throughout 2014 to bring in even more revenue. These types of trips contributed $71.5 billion in the 12 months prior to the report's release, which suggests the future is looking bright for travel and tourism within Australia.
The Global Marketing Prospectus released by Tourism Australia echoes this sentiment, saying tourism directly employs around half a million Australians and generates close to $100 billion in spending each year.
So where to from here? Tourism 2020 outlines government;'s strategy to help Australia realise its tourism potential. It covers six areas: Growing demand from Asia; increasing supply of labour, skills and indigenous participation; building competitive digital capability; ensuring the tourism transport environment supports growth; building industry resilience, productivity and quality; encouraging investment and implementing regulatory reform agendas; and building a regulatory reform agenda.
In the initial Tourism 2020 overview, it was stated that Australia's man-made, cultural and natural attractions are sought after by travellers from around the world, and the initiative would seek to capitalise on that. According to this report, achieving the 2020 Tourism Industry Potential could see tourism's contribution to GDP increase by as much as 50 per cent. Added features such as the National Broadband Network would be fast tracked to pull in more customers and create new opportunities, allowing tourism providers to better connect and engage with customers.