Tourism Under Short-term Pressure But Recovery In Sight

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17th July 2009, 09:53am - Views: 254
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Tourism Under Short-term Pressure but Recovery in Sight

The Tourism Forecasting Committee (TFC) today released its new forecasts for Australian tourism. The TFC forecast the value of tourism will fall 2.7% to $88 billion in 2009, reflecting decreases in both inbound (down 2.1%) and domestic (down 2.9%) markets.

The Chair of the TFC, Mr Bernard Salt said, "The number of inbound visitor arrivals is forecast to fall by around 4.0% in 2009 but arrivals from China, India and the Middle East will provide solid growth, continuing their trends of recent years. The Malaysian and Taiwanese markets will also have double digit growth rate due to strong increases in air capacity".

"In contrast, the Japanese and South Korean markets are expected to fall sharply in 2009, (26% and 25% respectively). The number of Japanese visitors will reach a level well below that of 1990, consequently ranking as Australia's fifth largest marketa quick downward slide from second position only five years ago."

The TFC prepared these forecasts in an environment of world recession, with a modest but positive outlook after 2009, in line with the expected recovery of world and Australian economic activity. Accordingly, tourism markets are forecast to increase next year leading to a 3.5% net growth in tourism dollars (in real terms).

Although the preparation of the forecasts included significant downward revisions to economic growth for major inbound markets compared with the last forecasts, favourable exchange rates, lower oil prices, strong increases in air traffic to Australia and some dramatic cuts to airfares have all provided significant stimulus to Australia's inbound and outbound tourism.

Mr Salt said, "Outbound travel is also forecast to decrease (1.0%) in 2009 and looks set to remain relatively strong while airfares are cheap, with the TFC forecasting the Australian propensity for outbound travel to continue its strong growth. In contrast, domestic trips are forecast to fall by 2.3%, implying that Australians will take fewer domestic trips. Further, the total number of domestic visitor nights is forecast to decline by nearly 4% as residents also shorten the average length of each trip, making it harder for tourism dependent businesses".

"The timing of a recovery to world growth is the key for a return to growth in Australian tourism. It is not in crisis, but does need further increases to investment and policy support for these forecasts to be achieved. The Jackson Report highlighted the need for co-ordinated action between government and industry to move the industry forward."

Mr Salt further noted, "Many tourism operators are doing it tough this year. However, if the Australian dollar does not appreciate further, increases in aviation capacity servicing Australia and a rebound in consumer confidence and world growth means Australia's inbound tourism is well placed to recover in 2010".

The TFC's membership draws on the expertise of the private and public sectors in the tourism and finance industries. Chaired by Bernard Salt (KPMG), committee members are from the Australian Bankers' Association, the Australian Standing Committee on Tourism, the Australian Tourism Export Council, the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources, Qantas, Queensland Tourism Industry Council, Tourism Australia and TTF Australia. Other organisations are also consulted.

The TFC forecasts can be downloaded at Tourism Research Australia's website:
http://www.tra.australia.com/

ends

Contact: Bernard Salt, Chair, Tourism Forecasting Committee on 0404 875 705


SOURCE: Tourism Forecasting Committee




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