Thursday, 30 November 2023
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator Farrell. Australia's tourism industry makes an extremely valuable contribution to jobs across Australia and to our national economy. However, in recent years, the industry has faced challenges presented by the pandemic. Can the minister update the Senate on the latest outlook for the recovery and future growth of this vital sector?
I thank Senator Stewart for her question. I know she has a great interest in the tourism sector, as it affects the great state of Victoria. On Tuesday, Australia's latest tourism forecasts for 2023-2028 were released, showing a stronger outlook for international arrivals growth than previous predictions. The forecast tells us that international tourist spend in Australia will exceed pre-pandemic levels in 2024. International arrivals in Australia will exceed pre-pandemic levels in 2025, and domestic tourism spend, which already exceeds its pre-pandemic level, will continue to rise. In Senator Stewart's home state, domestic visitor nights are due to increase by eight per cent this year. This is thanks to the reopening of China to outbound travel and a more positive look for the return of Chinese visitation to Australia, sustained high growth in international arrivals to Australia throughout 2023 to date, continued reopening of flight routes and commencement of new flight routes connecting Australia to the broader markets.
Of course, we know that tourism businesses still face challenges. Unlike those opposite, who withdrew critical support nearly a year before Australia's international borders reopened, this government is committed to continuing our work with industry to help it rebuild and grow. We're delivering a package of support designed in consultation with industry to address the challenges industry identified as barriers to its recovery. And as the tourism forecasts show, the outlook for the future of Australian tourism industry is a positive one.
Thank you for those great statistics, especially for Victoria. What actions is the Albanese government taking to support the Australian tourism industry to bounce back from the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic and help it grow into the future?
(—) (): I thank Senator Stewart for her first supplementary question. The Albanese Labor government is supporting Australia's tourism industry in many, many ways. Our 'Come and say g'day' campaign has been viewed 1.15 billion times. We've delivered a $48 million package for the industry, including grants to help tourism exporters reconnect with key markets, funding for activities that encourage people to choose tourism as a career and of course helping caravan park operators like Paul and Teresa Boswell in Palm Cove, who are installing an accessible swimming pool thanks to a $100,000 grant under our $10 million caravan park program. (Time expired)
How is the Albanese government working with Australia's tourism industry to help businesses future proof themselves and adapt to changing consumer expectations, including through helping them offer more sustainable and attractive experiences to both domestic and international visitors?
I thank Senator Stewart for her second supplementary question. We know through consumer demand research that more travellers are considering sustainability when planning their holidays. The Albanese Labor government wants Australian tourism businesses to benefit from this burgeoning market. That's why last week I joined my state and territory colleagues to launch the sustainable tourism toolkit. The toolkit provides clear, practical advice for businesses on how they can operate more sustainably, allowing them to attract this growing market, while cutting their own costs on things like energy and water.