Australian tourism businesses are disappointed that government funding to Tourism Australia is set to fall, hurting efforts to attract more visitors to Australia in a competitive market, Australian Chamber – Tourism said today.
John Hart, Chair of Australian Chamber – Tourism, said: “Tourism is Australia’s export hero, but tonight’s Budget misses the opportunity to support growth in this important sector.
“The decision to not quarantine Tourism Australia’s funding from broader cuts means its government funding will fall 7.8 per cent next financial year compared to this year. This will reduce Australia’s ability to compete in the market to attract international visitors.
“The impact will be exacerbated by the decision to index visa fees, including fees for tourist visas, making Australia a more expensive destination for international tourists. This will hurt the hundreds of thousands of small businesses that rely on Australia welcoming visitors from abroad.
“These businesses will also be hit by the new training contribution fees for temporary and permanent skill visas, which will exceed $1200 per annum for each temporary skilled migrant and $3000 for each permanent migrant. Inevitably this will reduce local job numbers by limiting the ability of local businesses to grow.
“There are some positives for tourism in tonight’s Budget. The green light and funding for Sydney’s second airport will help to relieve aviation congestion in the city and create the world-class facilities Australia’s biggest city deserves. Other infrastructure spending will also improve the tourism experience for visitors and make it easier for them to visit Australia’s regions.
“The focus on apprenticeships in the skills package and the continuation of the instant asset write-off for small businesses are also welcomed.
“We urge the Government to work with the industry to minimise the negative impact on tourism businesses of the policy announcements.”