Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy says this year’s Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) will help unite Australia’s tourism industry behind a vision to double overnight tourism expenditure to $140 billion by 2020.
Making its return to Sydney this week, where it was last held in 2000, ATE is Tourism Australia’s annual event to present the diversity of Australia’s tourism businesses to the international travel trade.
“The last time ATE was held in Sydney was the year the city hosted the Olympics; arguably our industry’s finest hour, when the world’s spotlight was firmly on Australia and optimism about future tourism growth was very high,” Mr McEvoy said.
“While Australia did have a record year last year in terms of numbers, with 5.9 million visitors for the first time, we have seen our share of the global travel market decline over the past decade,” Mr McEvoy said.
Mr McEvoy said for tourism to continue to play a significant and sustainable role in the economy, the industry needs to become more competitive, more productive and have a forward plan.
“This long-term thinking is at the heart of the 2020 Tourism Industry Potential, which we launched at the end of 2010 and which we’ll be talking a lot about at this year’s ATE,” Mr McEvoy said.
“The ‘Potential’ provides a clear vision for the industry and all levels of government to support, a unifying direction to improve Australia’s tourism performance.
“The focus is ambitious - to double overnight visitor expenditure from today’s $70 billion to between $115 billion and $140 billion by 2020. The key markets where this growth will come from have been identified and this is where Tourism Australia will focus its marketing efforts going forward.”
Tourism Australia believes that the proportion of international tourism expenditure will increase from 38 per cent of total tourism expenditure in 2009 to 45 per cent by 2020, which will have implications for development of Australia’s tourism products and experiences.
“The increasing importance of overseas markets in helping to achieve the $140 billion goal makes ATE more important than ever now as an opportunity to present - and sell - the diversity of Australia’s tourism businesses to the international travel trade,” Mr McEvoy said.
The ‘Potential’ work is an initiative of Tourism Australia with the assistance of the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism working closely across all levels of government and industry. It was unveiled at the inaugural Australian Tourism Directions Conference in Canberra in November 2010.