Tourism Minister seeks feedback on strategy to rebuild Australia’s visitor economy

The federal government is seeking feedback on its proposed strategy to rebuild Australia’s visitor economy.

On Thursday, the Minister for Tourism Dan Tehan released the Reimagining the Visitor Economy expert panel report, THRIVE 2030, a long-term strategy for recovery and sustainable growth of tourism.

The panel was formed in May to provide advice to the federal government and the tourism industry to help drive its economic recovery after almost two years of closed borders.

Martin Ferguson, who is currently chair of Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) and Clare Valley Wine & Grape Association, was appointed to lead the panel alongside Leanne Coddington (CEO, Tourism & Events Queensland), Karyn Kent (CEO, StudyAdelaide), Kate Lamont (owner, Lamont’s Wine & Food) and Juan Walker (owner and operator, Walkabout Cultural Adventures).

According to Tehan, the government-commissioned group identified three key ingredients for the future success of Australia’s visitor economy: the need to diversify markets and products, modernise business practices, and collaborate more closely.

“Prior to COVID-19, the visitor economy was Australia’s fourth-largest export sector, valued at $166 billion and directly employing more than 600,000 people,” he said.

“Australia is still a leading international tourist destination, with world-class experiences, passionate tourism operators, highly-skilled workers and top-quality education providers.

“I invite tourism operators, state and territory governments and impacted sectors to have their say on the proposed THRIVE 2030 strategy to help make our sector even stronger.

The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) has welcomed the report as a comprehensive review encapsulating Australian tourism’s position as it emerges from the COVID pandemic and enters a new world of international travel.

“We are pleased to see the report has comprehensively covered off on the major issues affecting our industry as well as some of the challenges the industry was already facing before the pandemic,” ATEC managing director Peter Shelley said.

“Issues such as the significant deficit in our workforce, which will be critical to the success of tourism’s recovery, have been highlighted as a major focus for government’s nationally and the need to build the pathway to success from marketing to air capacity, visas, renewed product offering and building business capability.”

Shelley said ATEC was strongly supportive of the recommendation to place Australia’s indigenous heritage at the centre of the tourism industry.

“Now is an important time for our industry and governments, working collaboratively, to look at opportunities to build the tourism industry of the future and many of the recommendations outlined in the report have highlighted ways we can do this from greater digital capacity, a stronger focus on value over volume, better data collection and promoting our nature and cultural offerings.

“It is refreshing to see recommendations to have the industry directly involved in helping to drive outcomes and ATEC is looking forward to working through the strategy both in the consultation stage and as a future contributor to industry collaboration processes. “The crucial link between driving demand, distribution and conversion will be essential in ensuring the success of the strategy and our international tourism restart.”

Feedback on the strategy is open until 23 December 2021.

You can read and review the proposed THRIVE 2030 strategy HERE.

Featured image: iStock/SolStock