Tourism policy, programmes and research
On 3 October 2013, responsibility for tourism policy, programmes and research was transferred to Austrade from the former Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism.
As required by the rules governing changes to the machinery of government, in this section Austrade has reported for the whole financial year on the performance of the tourism programme against the former department’s 2013–14 Portfolio Budget Statements.
Programme 3: Tourism-related initiatives and management
The Australian tourism industry is diverse in nature and is characterised by a prevalence of small and medium-sized enterprises and a high level of labour intensity. The industry is facing a challenging environment with intense competitive pressures and is vulnerable to factors beyond its direct influence. The key objective of this programme is to lead the development and implementation of the Government’s tourism policy to maintain and promote a competitive tourism sector.
This programme seeks to strengthen and stimulate growth in the tourism industry through the following activities:
- facilitating growth of domestic and international tourism
- working with relevant partners to address regulatory barriers to tourism
- working with government agencies to support adequate planning and management of border security, transport linkages and safety to enhance tourism security
- working with other government agencies and stakeholders to ensure that infrastructure development contributes to the competitiveness of the tourism sector
- promoting the development of innovative products, services or systems within the tourism industry to improve the quality of Australia’s tourism products and services
- working collaboratively with stakeholders to support the development of sustainable Indigenous tourism businesses
- actively engaging with government agencies to ensure that the Government’s labour and skills policies contribute to a sustainable and productive tourism industry
- working with relevant partners to improve the resilience of the tourism industry and its capacity to adapt to changing circumstances
- facilitating the provision of research and statistics to support business investment and guide tourism policy development.
Deliverables and key performance indicators
Tables 16 and 17 summarise the results for programme 3 against the deliverables and key performance indicators set out in the former Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism’s 2013–14 Portfolio Budget Statements.
Provision of accurate, timely and effective policy advice to the Minister and Government on tourism-related issues.
Provided timely and relevant briefings to the Minister and the Government on a wide range of tourism-related issues, including policy and programmes relating to domestic and international tourism, tourism products and services, and tourism research—see page 79.
Implementation of Tourism 2020 to improve the productive capacity of the tourism industry, including delivery of outputs agreed by tourism ministers in relation to:
Effectively coordinated the implementation of Tourism 2020 and the delivery of outputs to support the tourism industry, with 25 of the 33 agreed Tourism 2020 priorities for 2013 successfully implemented. On track to meet key Tourism 2020 performance targets, including growth in visitor numbers and expenditure, accommodation capacity, levels of tourism investment, international and domestic aviation capacity, and tourism employment—see page 121.
Strategic support for the Australian Standing Committee on Tourism, and tourism ministers, to assist the ministers to oversee and lead the implementation of Tourism 2020.
Effectively supported the Australian Standing Committee on Tourism, and tourism ministers, in overseeing the implementation of Tourism 2020. The committee met on two occasions during the year. Tourism ministers met in October 2013 to review progress on work in the six strategic areas of Tourism 2020 and agreed on future national tourism policy principles and priorities. Ministers endorsed 22 priority actions for 2014 and have tasked officials with developing a Tourism 2020 Strategic Plan (2015–2020)—see page 121.
Implementation of the National Tourism Accreditation Framework, working with relevant partners to improve the quality of tourism products and services.
Continued to work with Tourism Australia and the Tourism Quality Council of Australia to implement the National Tourism Accreditation Framework, also known as T-QUAL Accreditation.
The Government announced in its pre-election tourism policy in 2013 that it would transfer responsibility for T-QUAL Accreditation to industry through a tender process—see page 125.
Delivery of an enhanced China Approved Destination Status (ADS) scheme, to ensure a quality tourism experience for Chinese group leisure tourists.
Effectively delivered the China ADS scheme during 2013–14. The compliance monitoring agency engaged by Austrade conducted a range of compliance-checking activities across approved ADS tour operators, including random compliance checks across the approximately 12,000 tours operated in 2013–14. No ADS tour operators were removed or suspended from the scheme during the year for breaches of the ADS Code of Business Standards and Ethics.
In April 2014, Austrade released a discussion paper for public comment on reforms to the ADS code to increase the quality of the ADS experience for Chinese tourists. A new ADS code is expected to come into force in the second half of 2014.
The Government provided $10.1 million in the 2014–15 Budget to extend the China ADS scheme for a further four years—see page 126.
Delivery of the T-QUAL Grants Programme, and other tourism-related programmes, as required.
Continued to manage the T-QUAL Grants Programme during 2013–14. Successful applicants for the 2013 T-QUAL Tourism Quality Projects Grants round were announced in July 2013, and funding of $8.5 million was offered for 89 projects. A number of T-QUAL Strategic Tourism Investment Grants projects were also successfully completed in 2013–14. This programme terminates in 2014–15 and there will be no further grants offered.
In line with the Government’s policy priorities for tourism, Austrade established a new programme that will deliver demand-driver infrastructure for the tourism industry—see page 124.
Development of policy initiatives to support Indigenous tourism and engagement with relevant partners to support Indigenous tourism development in selected regions.
Engaged with government and industry stakeholders, including through the Tourism 2020 Indigenous Tourism Group, to progress an agenda focused on developing new Indigenous tourism products, including providing models for regional development through the Indigenous-based Strategic Tourism Investment Grants projects completed in 2013–14. An independent Indigenous chair was appointed to strengthen the Indigenous Tourism Group’s industry focus.
Engagement with key stakeholders to ensure that tourism interests are taken into account in the broader context of Australian Government policy development and implementation, including in relation to labour and skills, infrastructure development, and regulatory issues that impact tourism.
Engaged with government and industry stakeholders, including through the Tourism 2020 working groups and roundtable consultations held across Australia, to progress and inform the development of the national tourism agenda. Austrade has also formed a tourism interdepartmental committee with relevant Australian Government agencies to ensure that a whole-of-government approach is taken to national issues—see page 122.
Engagement in multilateral and bilateral forums to influence beneficial outcomes for the Australian tourism industry.
Contributed to a number of bilateral air services negotiations in 2013–14, including with Malaysia and Qatar.
As part of the machinery-of-government changes following the 2013 federal election, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade assumed responsibility for international tourism engagement. This includes advocating Australia’s tourism interests through bilateral, regional and multilateral forums, including the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)Tourism Working Group and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Tourism Committee —see page 123.
Engagement with Tourism Australia on governance and programme issues.
Continued to engage and collaborate effectively with Tourism Australia, including through regular meetings between key Tourism Australia and Austrade officers. Austrade also worked with Tourism Australia on the Australia Week in China events in April 2014—see pages 38 and 123.
Coordination and management of the National Tourism Incident Communication Plan.
Continued to manage the National Tourism Incident Communication Plan. There were no incidents during 2013–14 requiring activation of the plan.
Deliver quality strategic research in the tourism sector through Tourism Research Australia (TRA) that includes:
TRA released 45 research reports during 2013–14, including quarterly reports on domestic and international visitor numbers and behaviours; the biannual 10-year tourism forecasts; the 2013 State of the Industry report; the Tourism Investment Monitor; state-based tourism satellite accounts; the Tourism’s contribution to the Australian economy report; and Tourism productivity update 2014. TRA led the research component of the Asia Marketing Fund and released a number of reports to support policy development and industry activity in growing Asian markets.
TRA coordinated a more focused tourism research agenda through secretariat support for the Tourism Research Advisory Board and as a member of the Tourism Research Committee.
Establishment of the Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund (TIRF) programme, including the delivery of the first round of TIRF grants.
Continued to manage the TIRF grants programme during 2013–14. Projects on the Round 1 reserve list received offers of funding in July 2013, taking the total value of grants offered in Round 1 to $17.4 million.
This programme terminates in 2014–15 and there will be no further grants offered. Uncommitted funds allocated to the TIRF programme will be refocused to the Government’s new tourism demand-driver infrastructure programme—see page 124.
|Key performance indicator||
Growing demand from Asia
On target to meet Tourism 2020 goals based on an increase in visitor numbers and expenditure from key Asian markets as measured by TRA’s International Visitor Survey.
Latest data from the International Visitor Survey for the year ending March 2014 show that international visitor arrivals increased by 6.3 per cent to 6 million visitors, and expenditure by international visitors increased by 6.4 per cent to $29.6 billion, compared to the year ending March 2013. In the same period, the number of visitors from Asia increased by 8.9 per cent to 2.6 million and total expenditure increased by 5.6 per cent to $13.8 billion.
Assessing the potential of leading Asian markets, China has the capacity to grow to $13 billion; Japan to between $2.7 billion and $3.3 billion; India to between $1.9 billion and $2.3 billion; Malaysia to between $2 billion and $2.5 billion; Singapore to between $2.3 billion and $2.8 billion; and South Korea to between $2.8 billion and $3.4 billion.
Building competitive digital capability
The 2013 Tourism Operators’ Digital Uptake Benchmark Survey found that almost 80 per cent of tourism operators had their own websites. Almost 90 per cent of operators take email booking requests. While less than half of the operators provided facilities for instant booking and confirmation, of those that did, 70 per cent allowed for online payments as well.
Approximately 60 per cent of tourism operators surveyed reported having an official presence on social media, with almost all of these having a presence on Facebook.
Investment and regulatory reform
Increase in visitor accommodation capacity to 230,000 rooms in 2012–13 as measured by the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Survey of Tourist Accommodation. Capacity in rooms has increased by 2,700 (1.2 per cent) since the introduction of the 2020 Tourism Industry Potential scenario for growth in 2010.
Latest data from TRA’s Tourism Investment Monitor show that the tourism investment pipeline was worth $49.4 billion in 2013—an increase of $5.2 billion (11.8 per cent) on the previous year. Increases were attributable to investment in aviation which was up $4.1 billion (14.1 per cent) to $33.1 billion; and accommodation which was up $1.8 billion (32.1 per cent) to $7.4 billion—see page 120.
The destination management planning tool is a self-help tool that was developed to guide regional tourism organisations through the processes of destination management planning. It can be downloaded from the Austrade website and is also promoted and made available through the Australian Regional Tourism Network and various state and territory tourism organisation websites.
|In the year ending March 2014, international airline inbound seat capacity increased by 8.1 per cent to 21.5 million seats, compared to the year ending March 2013. In the same period, domestic airline seat capacity increased by 2.6 per cent to 77.6 million seats.|
Labour, skills and Indigenous participation
Latest available data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Tourism Satellite Account show that, in 2012–13, total tourism employment increased by 2.1 per cent to 544,000 jobs. Part-time tourism employment increased by 4.6 per cent to 248,000 jobs; full-time tourism employment increased by 1.7 per cent to 296,000 jobs.
The indicator for ‘change in number of Indigenous Australians employed in the tourism industry’ remains under development, awaiting Indigenous-specific data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
As measured by TRA’s tourism productivity report, tourism labour productivity remained flat in 2012–13 at 0.2 per cent.
Industry resilience, productivity and quality
1,000 businesses were T-QUAL endorsed during 2013–14.
As measured by TRA’s tourism productivity report, tourism multifactor productivity declined by 0.3 per cent in 2012–13.
|China Approved Destination Status (ADS) scheme|
Annual growth in ADS visitor numbers had slowed to around 1 per cent at April 2014. This is attributed to the Chinese Government’s introduction of the China Tourism Law in October 2013, which has led to widespread industry adjustment in the way the ADS scheme is run, and a temporary dip in ADS numbers. Signs of recovery have begun to appear, with an extremely strong ADS performance over the Chinese New Year, but the figures for the entire year have been softer due to the adjustment process as the new law is implemented. For the year ending March 2014, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Australia increased by 14 per cent from 614,000 to 697,000.
The most recent satisfaction survey of Chinese tourists covering the period January to June 2013 found that 90 per cent of tourists rated their overall experience greater than 7 on a scale of 1 to 10.
|T-QUAL Grants Programme|
For each annual funding round:
The 2011 grant round completion rate was 91 per cent. The 2012 and 2013 rounds still have active projects, so an assessment of completion rates cannot be undertaken at this time.
Additional investment (measured at the time of offer) for:
Deliverables for the completed projects in the 2011 round were all successfully met. As there are still active projects in the 2012 and 2013 rounds, achieved deliverables cannot be assessed at this time.
Data on the level of business turnover and employment levels in tourism businesses that have received a T-QUAL grant are not yet available
Timely release of quarterly National Visitor Survey report as per approved schedule.
Timely release of quarterly International Visitor Survey report as per approved schedule.
Tourism forecasts were delayed until June 2014 due to significant revisions in base data.
Timely release of the State of the Industry report at the 2013 Australian Tourism Directions Conference.
Online data subscriptions decreased by one subscription from 82 to 81 in the year ending March 2014, compared to the year ending March 2013.
The total number of data requests through TRA’s Statsline service fell by 24 per cent to 528 enquiries in the year ending March 2014, compared to the year ending March 2013. This included a fall in the number of data purchases initiated via Statsline from 74 in the year ending March 2013 to 58 in the year ending March 2014.
In 2013–14, there were around 56,000 users of, and 96,000 sessions on, the refreshed TRA website.
Achieved based on survey of participants at the 2013 Australian Tourism Directions Conference, which was rated excellent, very good or good by 92 per cent of respondents.
Anecdotal feedback received from respondents at the 2013 Australian Tourism Directions Conference showed that they were very satisfied with the quality and format of TRA publications. As a result, TRA has continued to develop this well-accepted format, including a broader use of infographics, based on this feedback.
Unable to measure
The Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism (RET) was abolished following the 2013 federal election. As a result, the RET Stakeholder Satisfaction Survey was not conducted in 2013–14.
Quality rating of outputs, for example TRA publications, including the State of the Industry report, showed that 75 per cent of respondents indicated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with TRA publications in the 2014 TRA Stakeholder Satisfaction Survey.
|Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund (TIRF) grants programme|
The first round of the TIRF grants programme is ongoing. It is not possible to provide data on key performance indicators associated with project completion rates, achievement of recipient-specific key performance indicators, increase in visitor numbers, revenue and employment, or achievement of T-QUAL accreditation by the completion of the project.
Data are available for additional investment. For the 85 projects initially offered funding of $17.4 million, matching funds were $158 million.
Strengthening Australia’s tourism industry
Austrade provides tourism policy advice to the Government and works with state and territory governments and the tourism industry to develop the key actions in the Tourism 2020 strategy. Austrade also manages government tourism programmes. Tourism Research Australia (TRA), a professionally independent agency within Austrade, conducts research to provide tourism statistics and economic insights to governments and industry.
The Australian tourism industry is a significant driver of economic activity. In 2012–13, the industry contributed around $42.3 billion (2.8 per cent) to Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP) (Figure 22). The industry supports approximately 280,000 tourism-related businesses, providing 543,600 jobs (4.7 per cent of Australia’s workforce), and generates $26.9 billion (8.9 per cent) of Australia’s export income.50
Figure 22: Tourism’s share of Australia’s GDP, employment and exports, 2012–13
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2013, Tourism Satellite Account, 2012–13, cat. no. 5249.0.
Despite a slow recovery from the global financial crisis for many of Australia’s trading partners, and a strong Australian dollar in recent years, there has been continued growth in the number of international visitors to Australia, up 6.3 per cent in the year ending March 2014 compared to the same period 12 months earlier. International visitors in Australia spent $29.6 billion in the year ending March 2014, which was up 6.4 per cent on the previous year.
While there was strong growth in visitor numbers from Singapore and Malaysia, more than half of the growth in international visitor expenditure was sourced from Chinese visitors.
Visitor numbers from the United States were the largest on record, increasing by 6.7 per cent to 487,500. Nights spent in Australia by visitors from the United States were up 4.8 per cent, and total trip expenditure increased by 5.8 per cent in the year ending March 2014.
Visitor numbers from the United Kingdom increased by 9.4 per cent, nights by 9 per cent and total trip expenditure by 12 per cent. Increases in visitor numbers were also recorded for Italy (up by 8.8 per cent), Germany (up by 8.5 per cent) and France (up by 6 per cent).51
Domestic tourism represents around three-quarters of total tourism expenditure. Latest data from the TRA National Visitor Survey for the year ending December 2013 show that Australians spent $69.8 billion on tourism in Australia, an increase of 2.3 per cent on the previous year.
Overnight visitor expenditure rose by 3 per cent to $51.5 billion, while domestic day-trip expenditure increased slightly by 0.4 per cent to $18.3 billion.
50. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2013, Tourism Satellite Account, 2012–13, cat. no. 5249.0.
51. TRA 2014, International visitors in Australia: March 2014 quarterly results of the International Visitor Survey.
Emma McDonald | Manager, Investment and Regulatory Reform, and Manager, Tourism Major Project Facilitation Service, Canberra
Emma leads a small team of experts in tourism policy, regulatory reform and investment facilitation, and focuses on improving the supply of tourism infrastructure in Australia to meet the strategic objectives of Tourism 2020. ‘We work closely with federal, state and territory government agencies to foster a supportive and streamlined regulatory environment for the sector, which is often disproportionately affected by regulation’, Emma said.
Her team also provides policy analysis and advice on government initiatives and industry developments that affect tourism, and offers a facilitation service for tourism projects worth more than $50 million.
Emma joined Austrade when it took on the responsibility for tourism policy from the former Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism in late 2013. She has qualifications in town planning and has worked in programme delivery for the Victorian and federal governments. She also has experience in stakeholder engagement for government and says her background has given her an awareness of the issues faced by businesses in their dealings with regulation, and how to build partnerships across government to increase productivity.
Tourism activity and expenditure outlook
The outlook for the coming year remains positive, with forecasts suggesting growth in international visitor expenditure of 5.2 per cent. Latest forecasts for the next 10 years suggest continued strong growth, underpinned by continued growth in Chinese visitor numbers.
Forecasts for domestic visitor nights expenditure for the next 10 years suggest moderately lower growth, up by 1 per cent on average each year to 2022–23.
Total expenditure by international and domestic visitors travelling in Australia is forecast to grow by 1.8 per cent per year in real terms to 2022–23, reaching $114.6 billion.52
Investment in Australia’s tourism industry
Ongoing investment in critical tourism infrastructure—particularly in domestic and international aviation and accommodation—is crucial to industry growth. TRA has estimated that the tourism investment pipeline (from planning to completion) was worth $49.4 billion in 2013. While a large part of this pipeline investment reflects increased demand for aircraft (either leased or purchased), pipeline investment in air industry and accommodation infrastructure has increased in recent years.53
52. TRA 2013, Tourism forecasts: spring 2013.
53. TRA 2014, Tourism Investment Monitor 2014.
The Tourism 2020 strategy
The Tourism 2020 strategy is a whole-of-government initiative designed to lift tourism productivity, innovation and quality, and position the tourism industry to achieve its growth potential by 2020.
Under the strategy, the Commonwealth and state and territory tourism ministers are committed to working with the tourism industry to achieve the 2020 Tourism Industry Potential of doubling overnight visitor expenditure to between $115 billion and $140 billion by 2020. This means attracting greater levels of investment, access and visitation, particularly from Asian markets, and increasing the supply of quality tourism products and services to meet the growing demand.
Strategic plan for 2015–20
In October 2013, Commonwealth, state and territory tourism ministers endorsed four national tourism policy principles to guide collaboration on tourism policy matters. They were to:
- encourage high-quality tourism experiences, including Indigenous tourism
- limit the tax, red tape and other regulatory burden that the industry faces
- undertake coordinated and effective marketing campaigns to drive demand
- work with industry to support the development of tourism infrastructure that can drive demand.
Tourism ministers tasked the Australian Standing Committee on Tourism with developing a Tourism 2020 strategic plan for 2015–20. The strategic plan will:
- integrate the four national tourism policy principles into the Tourism 2020 implementation framework
- be developed in partnership with the tourism industry
- provide industry and government stakeholders with a set of strategies to meet the 2020 Tourism Industry Potential
- develop strategies to focus on removing barriers to growth, and be observant of Commonwealth, state and territory governments’ fiscal policies.
Since taking on responsibility for tourism policy, programmes and research, Austrade has convened a series of industry roundtables in each state and territory to help identify the major reforms that governments, along with industry stakeholders, could undertake to meet the 2020 Tourism Industry Potential. More than 160 industry leaders participated in these forums.
A steering group of government and industry representatives was also convened to synthesise the outcomes of the industry consultations and develop a priority list of reforms for Commonwealth, state and territory tourism ministers to consider at their meeting in July 2014. After incorporating feedback from the meeting and finalising the strategic plan, senior officials and industry representatives will present the plan at the final tourism ministers’ meeting of 2014.
Austrade has also formed an interdepartmental tourism committee, chaired by its CEO, with high-level representation from relevant Australian Government agencies, to continue to ensure that a whole-of-government approach is taken to national tourism issues.
Austrade continued to deliver initiatives in support of Tourism 2020 goals, with particular emphasis on supply-side issues such as investment and regulatory reform, labour and skills, and tourism transport access.
Labour and skills
Austrade focuses on assisting tourism firms to address labour and skill constraints, overcome seasonal labour shortages and improve workforce planning to meet future skills needs.
Tourism employment plans
Following the launch in 2012–13 of the Broome and Red Centre tourism employment plans, two more plans were launched this year, one for Sydney, New South Wales, and the other for the Mornington Peninsula and Phillip Island in Victoria. The plans included more than 100 strategies to support regional workforce planning. Consultations were held with more than 1,300 stakeholders during the development of the plans. An additional four plans are currently under development in the labour and skills hotspot regions of Tropical North Queensland, Kangaroo Island in South Australia, Canberra and regional Tasmania.
During the year, a guide to developing a tourism employment plan was published and an advisory service was launched to direct tourism planners through the essential processes and considerations in setting up a plan.
Austrade has continued to work collaboratively across government towards the removal of barriers preventing tourism businesses from accessing labour needed to fill the industry’s labour shortages. In 2013–14, a Vocational Training and Employment Centre was established in Cairns to support the delivery of the Workforce Futures programme.
During the year, as part of the Tourism 2020 strategy, Austrade made submissions to the Productivity Commission inquiry into labour market mobility and to the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency on the composition of the Skilled Occupation List. These submissions outlined options to enable the tourism industry to access the labour it needs.
In 2013–14, key changes to the migration programme to allow tourism businesses to better access temporary labour included the inclusion of chefs (the first tourism trade occupation) on the Skilled Occupation List and negotiations for a template labour agreement with the hospitality sector. Under the auspices of Tourism 2020, Austrade continued to advocate for an extension of the working holidaymaker visa programme.
Also during the year, the Seasonal Worker Programme trial was extended beyond Broome to the whole of Western Australia’s accommodation sector. Trials are also taking place in the Northern Territory, Tropical North Queensland, the Whitsundays and Kangaroo Island.
To support the achievement of the Tourism 2020 objectives, it is essential that the supply of transport capacity and efficient transport infrastructure continues to move ahead of demand, ensuring Australia’s competitiveness as a visitor destination.
As an island continent, Australia relies almost exclusively on air services to bring international visitors to the country. Latest indicators suggest steady growth in aviation capacity. Direct aviation capacity (or total inbound seats operated) into Australia rose by 8.1 per cent to 21.5 million seats in the year ending March 2014. This was underpinned by strong growth in capacity coming from airlines based in China, Malaysia and the Middle East. However, domestic capacity growth has eased after a period of intense competition by Qantas Airways and Virgin Australia.
In 2013–14, Austrade made submissions to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development to inform the Australian Government’s negotiation position for a number of bilateral air services negotiations, including with Malaysia and Qatar. This is consistent with the Tourism 2020 objective of ensuring that the transport environment continues to facilitate tourism access.
Austrade contributed to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into the arrangements for supporting freight and passenger services between the Australian mainland and Tasmania. Austrade’s submission highlighted the impact of the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme and coastal trading regulations on the competitiveness of the Australian tourism industry.
Austrade also made a number of submissions to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development on the application of coastal shipping licences for expedition cruise ships. This is also consistent with the Tourism 2020 objective of ensuring that the transport environment continues to facilitate tourism access.
Investment and regulatory reform
A key pillar of the Tourism 2020 strategy is increasing investment to develop both new tourism products and refresh existing products to increase the quality of the Australian tourism offering.
Austrade continued to support the investment and regulatory reform agenda through the Australian Tourism Investment Attraction Partnership with Tourism Australia. The partnership seeks to identify potential barriers to investment and address areas of reform that could reduce the time and cost associated with complying with government regulations.
In April 2014, the partnership released its second yearly report detailing activities undertaken to increase investment in tourism infrastructure. In 2013, the partnership facilitated six investment outcomes with investors committed to invest approximately $450 million to create 490 new hotel rooms and upgrade 544 existing rooms and villas. The new construction is expected to create around 892 direct and indirect jobs.
The Tourism Major Project Facilitation service complements existing state and territory government business facilitation services, and case-manages major tourism projects through the Government’s approvals processes. The service is currently assisting five major tourism development projects totalling more than $2 billion that will support around 12,000 jobs. During 2013–14, the service provided assistance to proponents across a diverse range of issues including environmental approvals, land tenure arrangements and taxation.
Throughout the year, Austrade continued to manage and deliver programmes to build tourism industry resilience, quality and productivity. These included T-QUAL Tourism Quality Projects Grants; T-QUAL Strategic Tourism Investment Grants; Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund grants; the National Tourism Accreditation Framework (T-QUAL Accreditation); and the China Approved Destination Status (ADS) scheme.
The Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund (TIRF) and T-QUAL Tourism Quality Projects are competitive, merit-based grant programmes that match funding from the applicant, and are generally for small-scale projects. Successful applicants in 2013–14 received grants for new attractions, new tourism products (including digital products), accommodation and attraction upgrades, and new Indigenous tourism experiences.
Austrade administered more than 250 grants under the two programmes, including successful applications from new funding rounds. Successful applicants for TIRF grants were announced in March and July 2013, and successful applicants from the final T-QUAL Tourism Quality Projects round were announced in July 2013.
Strategic Tourism Investment Grants
Austrade developed responses to a range of nationally significant problems for the tourism sector that required innovative solutions, principally through the T-QUAL Strategic Tourism Investment Grants. These grants provided targeted seed funding of up to $1 million for a small number of nationally significant, innovative projects aimed at supporting Indigenous tourism, economic development and tourism employment. A total of eight projects were approved over the life of the programme. Seven of these projects concluded in 2013–14, and one project will conclude in 2014–15.
The grants are being used to develop a range of Indigenous business skills and tourism products, and to enhance the capacity of the industry to better understand and service the growing Chinese inbound tourism market. As part of the Australia’s National Landscapes programme run by Parks Australia and Tourism Australia, a grant is also being used to develop local and regional industry strategies and products that blend tourism and conservation outcomes in Australia’s iconic landscapes (see page 125).
These tourism grant rounds will be the final in this format. In 2014–15, unallocated funds for TIRF grants and the two T-QUAL grants will be consolidated into a programme that focuses on demand-driver infrastructure. Austrade has consulted with state and territory governments on programme principles and the distribution of funds. In April 2014, a discussion paper was released for industry comment on the definition of demand-driver infrastructure and industry’s infrastructure priorities.
Australia’s National Landscapes expanded by strategic tourism investment grant
The Australia’s National Landscapes programme is a partnership between Parks Australia and Tourism Australia that aims to achieve conservation, social and economic outcomes for Australia through the promotion of nature-based tourism experiences to the ‘global experience seeker’ tourism market. The programme focuses on 16 iconic tourism locations across Australia.
A T-QUAL Strategic Tourism Investment Grants project was developed to support improved investment in National Landscapes. The project encompassed completion of an experience development strategy and the subsequent implementation of priority projects under the strategy.
Key project outcomes included an experience development strategy for an additional four National Landscapes and an increased level of interest from investors in identified priority projects.
On top of the initial $2 million grant, and matching cash from project partners, the project generated an estimated $1.2 million in additional investments. Partnerships have also been strengthened at a regional or landscape level by bringing together a wide range of stakeholders to work collaboratively on projects.
A number of new tourism products are also being developed, including Australia’s first International Mountain Bicycling Association Epics ride in the Australian Alps National Landscape, which will open in 2014.
Click on image for large view [PDF – 820k]
The National Tourism Accreditation Framework, branded as T-QUAL Accreditation, provided an umbrella framework under which existing tourism-related quality assurance schemes could apply to cobrand, using a certified trademark, the T-QUAL Tick, under the terms of individual master licences held with the Commonwealth.
The T-QUAL Tick identified the tourism businesses and operators in Australia that had been endorsed as meeting the quality standards of T-QUAL Accreditation and provided one national symbol that enabled consumers to recognise quality products and services easily.
The Government’s pre-election tourism policy included a commitment to transition responsibility for accreditation of tourism products to industry, with up to $600,000 of funding to be allocated through a tender process. Austrade consulted with industry in February 2014, and released a tender in April 2014 for all elements of the programme that have been run by the Government. However, as there was no successful tenderer, the Government ceased T-QUAL Accreditation on 30 June 2014. Austrade is implementing strategies for closure and stakeholder engagement to wind up the programme.
China Approved Destination Status scheme
The China Approved Destination Status (ADS) scheme is a bilateral arrangement established by the Chinese Government that requires host countries like Australia to provide integrity, competition and a fair trading environment to the Chinese inbound leisure tour group market, and to provide Chinese inbound tourists with knowledge and choice so they can exercise effective consumer power in the market. The ADS permits Australia to host leisure tour groups from China. The scheme has enabled more than 1 million Chinese tourists to undertake group leisure travel to Australia since 1999. Although ADS visitors now make up a relatively small proportion of the total Chinese inbound market, the scheme remains an important tool for developing tourism travel to Australia from new Chinese regional markets.
Austrade employs a dual strategy to meet the needs of Chinese tourists, improve the quality of their Australian experience, and maintain Australia’s approved destination status. A quality assurance programme for inbound tourism operators ensures compliance with the ADS Code of Business Standards and Ethics for tourists travelling under the scheme; and a capacity-building programme assists the Australian tourism industry to develop a quality product tailored to the needs of Chinese visitors.
The compliance monitoring agency engaged by Austrade, Signet Group International Pty Ltd, conducted random code compliance checks across the approximately 12,000 ADS tours operated in 2013–14. Signet Group International also managed a ‘mystery shopper’ assessment, where operators were graded by assessors posing as customers. Information gathered from these activities was used to caution or deregister inbound tourism operators found to be in breach of the code. The information was shared with government agencies through the ADS Compliance Taskforce, which coordinates measures to target undesirable activity in the ADS market.
In April 2014, Austrade released a discussion paper for public comment on reforms to the ADS code. The discussion paper identified five principles for increasing the quality of the ADS experience for Chinese tourists. These are:
- positive service outcomes for ADS tourists—implementation of criteria which ensure delivery of promised service outcomes to guarantee a quality tourism experience for ADS tourists
- improve scheme administration—streamlining of administration of the scheme for the Australian Government and inbound tourism operators
- improve code clarity—clarification of the requirements for inbound tourism operators and what the consequences are for noncompliance
- maximise economic benefits—ensuring the economic benefits from the China tourism market are optimised across the Australian tourism industry
- align the ADS scheme to the China Tourism Law—creation of accord between the ADS scheme and the applicable provisions of the China Tourism Law.
Submissions on the discussion paper closed in late April 2014 and the industry is now considering the final draft of the code. The new ADS code is expected to come into force during the second half of 2014.Back to top
Tourism Research Australia (TRA) provides quality tourism intelligence and analysis across the international and domestic tourism markets, as well as forecasts of tourism activity. TRA supports Tourism 2020 by providing the independent research required to inform the development of the strategy’s principal objectives, and tracks the progress of tourism’s critical performance indicator, the 2020 Tourism Industry Potential, in its annual State of the Industry report.
The work of TRA is supported by a statement of professional independence. The Tourism Research Advisory Board monitors TRA’s work programme as an important and integral part of the national research agenda for tourism. TRA released 45 research reports in 2013–14, including flagship publications such as the State of the Industry report, the Tourism Investment Monitor, and the International Visitor Survey and National Visitor Survey reports.
Website and mobile application
TRA’s website, www.tra.gov.au, provides a platform for disseminating TRA data and reports, and its mobile application, TRA Statistics, launched in October 2013, highlights top-line tourism statistics sourced from TRA and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. At 30 June 2014, the app had been installed on 598 mobile devices (485 on iOS devices and 113 on Android devices).
Asia Marketing Fund projects
The Asia Marketing Fund was established in 2012 to promote Australia as a tourism destination to growing markets in Asia. TRA leads the research component of the Asia Marketing Fund, providing a strong evidence base to support government policy development and industry activity. This allows opportunities presented by the Asian market to be realised and maximised.
Asia Marketing Fund reports released by TRA in 2013–14 included:
- Engaging with Asia—resources
- Strategies to assist tourism industry SMEs to engage with Asian markets
- Understanding dispersal of Asian visitors: The International Visitor Survey Data Mining Project
- Chinese Visitor Satisfaction Survey: summary report.
Chinese Visitor Satisfaction Survey report
China is Australia’s fastest-growing inbound tourism market and the largest contributor to international visitor spending in Australia.54
Between 2012–13 and 2022−23, the number of Chinese visitors is forecast to increase from 685,000 to 1.4 million, and their real inbound tourism expenditure from $4.4 billion to $8.2 billion.
TRA’s Chinese Visitor Satisfaction Survey report found that Australia’s natural environment and liveability were major drawcards for Chinese visitors, and were the main reasons why they would recommend Australia as a place to visit.
Based on interviews with 3,600 Chinese visitors to Australia during 2013, the report found that 90 per cent of visitors were satisfied with their trip to Australia and 83 per cent said their trip met or exceeded expectations.
Other important findings reported include the following:
- Forty-four per cent of Chinese visitors cited Australia’s ‘unspoilt natural environment’ as the single best feature of Australia.
- The one-third of Chinese visitors who ate western food every day (or most days) were more likely to have a trip better than expected, while those who never ate western food had lower overall trip satisfaction.
- Chinese visitors were particularly happy with personal safety and security (96 per cent), the friendliness of locals (94 per cent) and Australia’s attractions (77 per cent). Wine experiences (72 per cent) and food and beverages (69 per cent) also rated highly.
- Satisfaction was lower for ‘value for money and shopping’, with only 50 per cent of Chinese visitors satisfied with shopping in Australia. Satisfaction levels were higher for independent travellers from China than they were for group tourists.
Overall, the study indicated that the majority of Chinese visitors are likely to recommend Australia as a holiday destination to their family and friends.
The report is available on TRA’s website, www.tra.gov.au.
54. TRA 2013 (unpublished data).
Asia Marketing Fund research projects that were underway in 2013–14 include:
- Japan and Korea Visitor Satisfaction Survey—The objective is to determine drivers of satisfaction and causes of dissatisfaction among visitors from Japan and Korea, and the activities that visitors enjoy and dislike. Understanding these factors will inform development of government policy and marketing strategies, as well as industry decision-making to enhance the experience of Japanese and Korean visitors.
- Dispersal of Chinese free independent leisure travellers in Australia—The objective is to determine potential drivers of dispersal for Chinese free independent leisure travellers. Important individual and trip characteristics of these visitors will be identified that could influence their dispersal outside of the main gateways of Sydney, Melbourne, the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Perth.
- High-spending Asian leisure visitors—The objective is to better understand the current patterns and trends in expenditure by Asian visitors and to identify potential areas where increased expenditure could be encouraged. Research will focus on leisure travel by residents of key Asian countries, such as China, India, Japan and Malaysia.
Reports and surveys
Key TRA releases in 2013–14 are listed below.
- Results of the International Visitor Survey and National Visitor Survey—includes information on the travel behaviour of international visitors at a state and territory and national level, and information on Australian resident travel within Australia, including overnight and day visits, and overseas travel. These reports are released quarterly.
- Tourism forecasts—provides 10-year forecasts for Australia’s inbound, domestic and outbound (overseas) tourism sectors. This report is released biannually.
- Regional forecasts—presents forecasts of visitor nights in Australia’s states and territories during the next decade. This report is released annually.
Economic analysis reports
- State of the Industry 2013 and Tourism Scorecard—assess the performance of the Australian tourism industry and highlight long-term issues affecting its performance.
- Tourism update: updated results to State of the Industry 2013—provides top-line information on Australia’s tourism industry.
- Tourism Investment Monitor 2014—provides an estimate of the total value of large-scale projects in the tourism investment pipeline. This report is released annually.
- Tourism’s contribution to the Australian economy, 1997–98 to 2012–13—estimates the tourism industry’s contribution to Australia’s economy. This report is released annually.
- Tourism productivity in Australia—assesses the productivity performance of tourism and its key contributing industries.
- Tourism Satellite Account 2012–13—summarises the key results from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Tourism Satellite Account.
- State Tourism Satellite Accounts—supplements the national Tourism Satellite Account published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics with a similar set of data expanded for all states and territories.
- Small-scale accommodation survey: an evaluation report—evaluates the survey which ceased in October 2013.
- Tourism employment projections—contains tourism employment projections in Australia’s state and territory economies over the period 2011–12 to 2029−30.
- Tourism businesses in Australia—reports various metrics on businesses in tourism-related industries in Australia including numbers, employment, legal structure, location and financial performance.
- Regional tourism profiles—provides comprehensive tourism demand and supply data for 77 of Australia’s tourism regions and all states and territories.
- Destination Visitor Surveys, including:
– NSW—Newcastle Visitor Profile and Satisfaction Survey
– NSW—Albury Visitor Profile and Satisfaction Survey
– QLD—Gold Coast Visitor Profile and Satisfaction Survey
– QLD—The Whitsundays Research—Converting the Considering!
– QLD—Chinese Residents in Australia and their Perceptions of Queensland
– SA/VIC—Great Ocean Road Visitor Profile and Satisfaction Survey
– SA/NT—Driving Dispersal of International Visitors to South Australia and Northern Territory
– WA—Food and Wine Visitors in Western Australia
– WA—Evaluating the Caravan Park and Self-Contained Traveller Sector in Western Australia
– TAS—Motivators and Satisfaction of Visitors to Tasmania
– ACT—The International Education Market in the Australian Capital Territory: Tourism Impacts and Opportunities.
- Tourism ready reckoner—top-line statistics on the direct contribution of tourism to Australia’s economy, and international and domestic visitor numbers, nights and expenditure. This report is released quarterly.
- Tourism Operators’ Digital Uptake Benchmark Survey—findings from the 2013 benchmark survey of tourism operators’ digital uptake in Australia.
These reports are all available on the TRA website, www.tra.gov.au.