The $95 billion industry can support the nation's economy while the mining boom and manufacturing decline, Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive Ken Morrison told The Australian.
The Forum has also released a policy paper ahead of the election with a 10 point agenda: Australian Tourism: Backing our strengths
1 Increase funding for Tourism Australia
2 Focus government resources to capitalise on Asian Century opportunities
3 Freeze and review the Passenger Movement Charge
4 Commit to a secondary Sydney airport at Badgerys Creek
5 Review penalty rates to recognise the needs of tourism and hospitality
6 Expand the working holiday maker scheme
7 Establish a $10 million annual business event support fund to secure more international business events and a $5 million annual fund to attract major international sporting events
8 Reform the tax system to encourage investment in tourism infrastructure
9 Commit to streamlining trans-Tasman border formalities and reduce the PMC to $25 for trans-Tasman travel by Australians and New Zealanders
10 Increase funding for federal national parks
Sadly there was no recommendation to entirely abolish State tourism bodies in favour of a national and regional approach. The contentious issues are likely to be around the IR proposals for penalty rates and working visas also commented on this week at Queensland Economy Watch: Tourism sector needs IR reform.
Two years ago I posted on comments by the always interesting Phil Ruthven from IBIS on the prospect of tourism taking over from mining as a driver of export income "tourism, you've got to be joking?". It certainly did seem like a joke back in 2011. However, a stronger tourism sector may not bring so many of those high income jobs associated with mining!