New Year Cheer For Tourism Businesses

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29th December 2009, 03:30pm - Views: 736
Embargoed: Wednesday 30 December 2009, 12:01am

New Year Cheer for Tourism Businesses

Tourism operators across the country can welcome the new year with renewed optimism after today's release of the Tourism Forecasting Committee (TFC) forecasts for 2010 and beyond, according to the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF).

The forecasts show an expected increase of 4.3 per cent in international arrivals in 2010 and a rise of 2.3 per cent in domestic visitor nights.

"These forecasts are consistent with the general upswing in confidence that we are detecting across the tourism industry," said TTF Executive Director, Brett Gale

"Our most recent TTF MasterCard Sentiment Survey with 100 of the top CEOs in the
industry showed sentiment returning toward neutral for the fourth quarter.

"We've also seen airlines recently restoring capacity, which is a very welcome sign.

"Tourism businesses are cautiously optimistic that conditions will improve next year, after what's been an extremely tough 2009."

Mr Gale said 2009 was an annus horribilis for the tourism industry

"This year, big spending international business and holiday visitors, on which the industry is dependent for profitable returns, are estimated to be down 14.4 per cent and 2.8 per cent respectively.

"Tourist volume is not enough for the long-term survival of businesses there has to be sufficient yield to pay bills and maintain staffing levels. Unfortunately, because yield suffered this year due to the global recession, tourism businesses were forced to lay off staff.

"Between September 2008 and June 2009 we saw 7,676 or 6.0 per cent of jobs lost in the accommodation industry, which has been the human cost of this year's slow down in tourism demand.

"For the immediate future, the industry will still need to contend with a strong Australian dollar, which is a double whammy as it makes it more expensive for overseas visitors to come to Australia and cheaper for Australians to travel overseas.

"The forecasts show an increase in Australian outbound trips to over 6.5 million, which is remarkable when only six years ago there were just 3.4 million outbound trips."

Mr Gale said the longer term forecasts were positive and could help the industry shape what it has to offer.

"If we look to the longer term, most of the tourism growth is expected to come from international markets, which means we need to be prepared with attractions, accommodation and tour facilities that can cater to a different market mix.

"The Federal Government's release of the National Tourism Strategy in late December was a step forward but there is much to do to deliver on key infrastructure and planning promises.

"Unlike previous attempts, the strategy can't be left to collect dust, nor can it get bogged down in bureaucracy.

"The government also needs to ensure that the $9 million of funding for Tourism Australia, which was brought forward from 2010/11, is replenished so that Australia can be showcased to the world.

"As consumers across the world begin to come out of their shell it is essential that Australia is there marketing what it has to offer".

Media Contact: Brett Gale 0402 320 264

SOURCE: Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF)

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