The annual report from The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has been released this week unveiling a disappointing year for travel and tourism in Australia. The report shows that the economic contribution of Australia’s Travel and Tourism only grew by 1.7 per cent in 2013. According to David Scowsill, President and CEO of WTTC, this decreased value is due to Australia’s visa policies that are inhibiting its travel and tourism potential and seeing it lose out on high-spending Asian visitors. Aside from this disappointing result, the WTTC predicts that travel and tourism in Australia will grow by 2.7 per cent in 2014.
David Scowsill is urging Australia to take decisive action to ensure the sector is sustained in the long term; he said, “The Australian Government can’t afford to rest on its laurels and needs to take decisive action to grow Travel & Tourism’s economic slice. There is so much competition to receive visitors from fast- growing economies in Asia like China and India. But Australia’s current visa policies mean it is missing out on these lucrative markets to competitors with more forward-thinking policies. The ASEAN community are working on co-operating together on a single visa in the near future. Even now, ASEAN countries are actively introducing changes like visa-on-arrival in Malaysia for Indians, the Thai-Cambodian Single Visa, extended stays in Thailand for citizens of G7 and visa exemption for medical tourists in Thailand. Australia is in danger of falling behind and missing out on visitors, tourism receipts and jobs.”