Private sector told to spend up on tourism

Friday 7 January 2011

Private sector told to spend up on tourism


Tourism has grown at just half the rate of the wider economy according to a new report by Tourism Research Australia.

The report entitled Tourism Productivity in Australia looked at the efficiency of the industry and included nine sectors including accommodation and retail trade among others.

The research showed that in the period between 1997 and 2009, the tourism industry grew by an average of 0.2% per year, well below the 0.4% experienced by the economy generally.

This result has prompted Australia's Minister Assisting on Tourism, Senator Nick Sherry, to urge the private sector to invest heavily into the industry.

“Productivity gains and capital investment will be essential to renew Australia’s many attractions, hotels and convention centres, and we look to the private sector on this count,”  Senator Sherry said.

“The report’s findings send a strong message the industry needs to invest in capital and a skilled labour force to deliver all- important efficiencies,” he said.

President of the Port Douglas Chamber of Commerce, Ken Dobbs, agrees that Governments can only do so much in terms of making a destination desirable.

"The Government's job is to bring more people to Australia. It's the State Government's job to bring more people to Queensland. And it's the local Council's job to bring more people to our area," he said.

Mr Dobbs said that tourism should not be given special treatment, and gave the example that if the retail sector asked the Government to subsidise their advertising so more people would go shopping "people would be up in arms."

"Local businesses such as the Sheraton and Quicksilver spend a bit, whether it's enough I don't know. It's a complex issue and spending money is not the key. Making the town more presentable is the key," he said.

Mr Dobbs said that Council should play a big role in making the town presentable through the funds received from rate payers.

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