Australia’s tourism industry at risk of losing billions

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Billions of dollars and thousands of jobs are at stake should Australia not reform its ailing tourism industry, a new report revealed on Monday.

The government-sponsored Jackson Report came as Australia’s share of global tourism dropped 14 percent between 1995 and 2008, while also declining as a proportion of Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP) since peaking in 2001.

“If Australia does not make the necessary changes between now and 2030, we risk forgoing 3.6 million international visitors, 17.7 billion U.S. dollars (22 billion Australian dollars) of tourism’ s contribution to GDP, and as many as 100,000 tourism jobs,” former Qantas chairwoman Margaret Jackson said.

The report produced by the Long Term Tourism Strategy Steering Committee made 10 recommendations to enhance research, online capability, skills and investment.

Australian Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson welcomed the report, saying the government and the industry need to focus on improving productive capacity and international competitiveness.

“The tourism industry’s contribution to the Australian economy is immense, with the sector generating more than 32 billion U.S. dollars (40 billion Australian dollars) in gross domestic product and directly employing around half a million people,” Ferguson said.

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