4 May 2016
The Coalition Government recognises that tourism is one of five super-growth sectors that will create new jobs and growth in the economy over the next decade. Tourism now accounts for 3 per cent of our GDP, supports one million Australian jobs and drives $30.7 billion in exports.
With the landmark achievement of one million Chinese arrivals in a year and a 43 per cent increase last year in spend from China, there is much to celebrate. Record spend has been achieved from nine key markets including China but also the US, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, India, Taiwan and France.
For the first time since 2009 we are on track to reach the Tourism 2020 target of doubling overnight visitor expenditure to between $115 and $140 billion annually.
However, we cannot be complacent and need to ensure our policy settings facilitate further tourism growth.
That is why the 2016-17 Budget supports tourism through key measures including:
Australia welcomed a record 7.5 million international visitors in the year ending February 2016 and this suite of measures will grow that number further.
In particular, the announcements of a premium clearance service and extension of countries eligible to access fast-track processing will increase Australia's tourism competitiveness, increase tourism spending and attract more high-yielding visitors.
These announcements complement the three-year, multiple-entry visitor visa announced for Indonesia in November last year, and a 10-year visitor visa for China that will be available online in Simplified Chinese this year. This will be the first time Australia has trialled visa application lodgement in a language other than English.
With the tourism industry projected to grow at 4.1 per cent per year over the next decade - well above the national average - the opportunities for the sector are immense.
The 2016-17 Federal Budget ensures the industry is well placed to take advantage of the opportunities available for future growth, including in regional areas where 44 cents in every tourism dollar is spent.