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Tourism forecast predicts not growth under Labor.



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Mon, 11th August 2008 TOURISM FORECAST PREDICTS NO GROWTH UNDER LABOR

Steven Ciobo MP Shadow Minister for Small Business, the Service Economy & Tourism

Australia’s Tourism Forecasting Committee (TFC) has predicted zero growth in inbound visitor arrivals in 2008, the lowest forecast in growth since 2003, when Australia was recovering from international terrorism and dealing with the SARS breakout.

The TFC has released its forecasts for the 2008-2017 period, signalling tourism will stagnate in the short-term, at a time when Labor has no clear plan to address the immediate challenges facing the tourism industry, the Shadow Tourism Minister Steven Ciobo said.

“You know tourism is in real trouble when Australian operators are told to brace for zero growth. This is the worst period of growth since 2003, when there were real global uncertainties such as SARS and the fear of terrorism following September 11 and the Bali Bombings,” Mr Ciobo said.

“The TFC forecasts international visitor arrivals will remain unchanged this year from 2007 at 5.6 million, and expects a 3 per cent decline in domestic visitor nights in 2008, followed by a 2.7 per cent decline in 2009. This represents a huge blow for Australian tourism businesses.

“Places like tropical North Queensland will really feel the heat from a decline in tourist numbers, with arrivals from Japan, one of their key markets, forecast to continue to drop 20 per cent to 457,000 arrivals in 2008. That’s 116,000 less Japanese visitors coming to Australia to spend money on accommodation, restaurants and retail.

“Record high fuel costs have really left parts of Queensland struggling, with airlines axing a number of services such as between Australia and Japan.

“The Minister for Tourism has a lot of explaining to do to the Australian tourism sector. Labor has no short-term plan for tourism and it is clear many businesses will really feel the pressure, with some going to the wall. It is crucial Labor has a plan now, not in 12 months, but now.

“Right now the tourism industry is under a lot of stress stemming from high fuel costs and nearly a billion dollars of new taxes introduced by the Rudd Labor Government three months ago. Labor continues to be in a holding pattern, unable to make clear decisions affecting the short-term future of tourism.

“It is no wonder business confidence has plunged to record lows because of the lack of planning by the new Federal Government."

To view the TFC forecast, visit the following address:

www.tra.australia.com/content/documents/forecasts