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Tourism is an important sector for the Australian economy. It is an important industry since it plays a role in the generation of national income, employment and exports. It has been named as one of the prime places to visit in 2016 by leading US travel publications including Travel + Leisure, Afar and Departures. From the latest International Visitor Survey, released by Tourism Research Australia for the year ending June 2015: international visitor numbers increased from 7% to 6.6 million visitors and international visitor spend grew by 10% to a record $33.4 billion. Even with the successive growth over the years, it still has some untapped potential that can be achieved by improving on certain aspects.

Tourism industry in Australia has both its ups and downs at the same time. This is according to The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper dated 20th March 2016. The up side is that millions of Indians and Chinese will travel and spend billions of dollars whereas the downside is that the Australian economy must devise ways to capitalize on the huge opportunity. In 2014 the tourism industry contributed to its GDP by almost 3%.

Starting with the airports, a first timer’s immediate impression is almost always tiring as it is spent in long queues, poor signalling for the non-English speaking tourists. To add salt to the injury, more time is again spent waiting for a taxi or a public service vehicle to get to one’s destination further delayed by crossing pedestrians.

The Tourism industry has not done enough to capitalize on its potential. The burning problem seems to be poor infrastructure to cater for the boom season. Well laid infrastructure could cure the congestion disease and save time spent on roads. Building modern airport facilities and foot bridges for pedestrians could go a long way in tapping the benefits arising from the tourists.

The Hospitality industry is also frustrated. Poor customer service is seen as the norm and this could be attributed to under investment in training and development of the staff to be a world class tourism industry. It could also be the high weekend penalty rates which makes it impossible for them to hire staff.

Cross-promotion is also lagging behind as the tourism operators are not making an effort to promote their facilities and services. Greater promotional strategies need to be outsourced and up the selling game to attract more tourists.

Investment in digital platforms to market their services. Customers need to be able to access all relevant and reliable information on several platforms. Developing an app that is tailored for every tourist’s specifications that enable them to book travels and even rate the facilities to provide feedback. Online surveys also assist the tourism operators with data to improve their services.

On the bright side however, a group of big casino operators are coming up to cater for the training programmes and facilities as they have already discovered the importance of creating a lasting tourist experience. It is hoped for that other sections of the industry will join the wagon soon in order to fully capitalise on this potentiality.

The government needs to play its part by marketing the industry’s strengths and encouraging collaboration between tourism regions, operators and stakeholders. They should also encourage innovation in the tourism industry and support for major events.

Major aspects in the article

Poor infrastructure

This is seen as a major pitfall for the Australian tourism industry. About 99 per cent of international visitors travel to Australia by air. The congestion at major capital city airports is a concern as it discourages new tourists if coupled up with the long queues and constant waiting to arrive at designated destinations. A great part of the infrastructure used by international visitors is provided by the private sector, including cafes, restaurants and hotels, and some major airports. The government needs to play its role in the provision of the essential services by investing in infrastructure for the continued growth of Australia’s tourism industry.

Little government support

The government invests inadequately in the tourism industry which is part of the reason for the poor capitalization in the industry. Governments are charged with the responsibility of formulating policies and regulations that influence the investment decisions of tourism‑related businesses. This is crucial as the policies can be favorable or unfavorable. Government investment however needs to be carefully analysed to avoid misallocation of funds.

Digital technology

Technology has become a way of life and cannot be ignored. This has had a major impact on the way visitors research and book tourism‑related products. An increasing number of tourists are now researching and booking components of their trip on the internet, especially airfares and accommodation. Australia is yet to properly invest in these strategies in order to stimulate the sector which could be substantial.

Poor customer relations

Lack of funds to offer training and development programs for staff is a major challenge. With proper training, the hospitality sector can boost the tourism industry as tourists may give a good review on services offered and attract more of their kind. The weekend penalties charged that contribute to lack of funds for training of staff could be lowered to allow the resources to be channeled to other deserving sectors. The government should also offer training programs at a subsidized rate to enable access by all.

Emergence of a new class of investors

The investments in the tourism sector by big casinos has been a major boost. By investing in training facilities and programmes, they are raising the standards of provision of services that so as to acquire and maintain experienced staff will lead to better catering for the tourists’ needs.


The Australian tourism industry has definitely come a long way and still has a longer one to cover. Greater technology implementation and industry-wide collaboration to redesign the customer experience, encourage international travellers to spend more, come back, and spread the word about Australian tourism should be one of its goals.

The industry is expected to grow to 4.9 billion by 2030 and this will only be successful if the major problems are looked into and addressed especially on infrastructure. Estimating the projected benefits of the tourism project to the industry requires consideration of the locations visitors are travelling to, attractions sites they visit and activities they participate in during their stay in Australia. By analyzing, they can allocate resources accordingly and avoid misallocation of resources.

It is not an easy problem to fix given the diversity of tourism stakeholders. Blame cannot be solely put on the tourism operators as the government also plays a part in the shortcomings.
There may not be any benefits arising from upgrading infrastructure if visitors are not travelling to that destination, or have preferences for activities which do not use that infrastructure. The idea is to stimulate the tourism industry.

Reference List

The Sydney Morning Herald (March 20th 2016) <> (Accessed 20 Mar 2016)

The Australian Academy of Science <> (Accessed 20 Mar 2016)

Australian’s International Tourism Industry (2015) <> (Accessed 20 Mar 2016)

<;jsessionid=27F1BF266152FE8C0F5D58EA73C9BDF3?sequence=1> (Accessed 20 Mar 2016)

Journal of Travel Research 2016 <> (Accessed 20 Mar 2016)

Australian Government Austrade <> (Accessed 20 Mar 2016)

<—century/story-e6frfq80-1226334576895> (Accessed 20 Mar 2016)

Tourism Research Australia (2014) <>