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Australia opens its tourism industry to worldwide investment

BY IN Job Market On 18-05-2012

Australia is pushing for more investment in its tourism industry to bankroll local projects.

To that end, Tourism Australia, the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism (DRET) and the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) have joined forces in a new strategic partnership to promote investment opportunities across the Australian tourism industry to foreign and local investors.

The initiative comes as the industry struggles to cope with a strong Australian dollar and extra air capacity that makes travel to destinations outside Australia comparatively cheap.

At least one industry group welcomed the initiative as a means of financing much needed new hotel development.

The five-year partnership was formally announced yesterday at a launch event in the Eureka Tower in Melbourne, attended by the Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson.

In activating the partnership, Tourism Australia, Austrade and DRET unveiled several communication tools including for the first-time the Australian Tourism Investment Guide, which outlines up to 80 investment ready opportunities and proposed tourism projects, a marketing video and micro site www.tourisminvestment.com.au creating a single destination to assist tourism investment decision-making.

The guide is a major priority under Tourism 2020 – Australian tourism’s strategy for sustained, long term growth – and identifies tourism investment ready projects across all States and Territories. The investment ready list covers city-based and regional Australia projects, including:

Perth Waterfront & Waterbank East Perth, Western Australia – five star hotel and mixed use development;

Moonlight Head on the Great Ocean Road, Victoria – luxury lodges and hotel development;

Pumphouse Lake St Clair at Cradle Mountain, Tasmania – wilderness lodge;

The Landing at Gosford, NSW – waterfront precinct and accommodation development;

State capital CBD accommodation developments in Adelaide, Brisbane and Darwin and Stromlo Forest Park Development, Mount Stromlo (ACT) (Full list available in the Guide or www.tourisminvestment.com.au)

Tourism Research Australia has released the inaugural Tourism Investment Monitor 2012 to provide investors with an overview of the tourism investment pipeline, applying further impetus to support future supply side activity and further grow tourism as Australia’s largest services export earner. The Monitor states AUD42 billion is within the investment pipeline placing it on track to accommodate expected demand.

Tourism Australia Managing Director, Andrew McEvoy, welcomed the partnership noting the collective approach would help to deliver enhanced outcomes for the Australian tourism industry and the wider economy, by demonstrating the case for new and greater levels of investment.

“We acknowledge that investment sourced both locally and internationally, is vital to growing the Australian tourism industry and achieving our industry’s goal of doubling overnight visitor expenditure to up to A$140 billion a year by 2020. This is the level of growth we need to bring new investment to life,” McEvoy said.

“As part of a recently expanded remit for Tourism Australia, we’re broadening our focus to play a greater role to help facilitate tourism investment opportunities and more strongly align demand and supply side activities.”

The industry group Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) said the initiative underlined the importance of investment in accommodation needed in Australia’s major capital cities.

“The joining together of Tourism Australia with Austrade to create this prospectus of hotel investment opportunities in Australia is to be commended. Tourism Australia knows the market and Austrade has the network of international investors,” said TTF Chief Executive John Lee.

“Aggressive targets have been set in Tourism 2020 for growing the visitor economy. These targets cannot expect to be met without additional accommodation particularly in our capital cities,” Lee said.

“Occupancy is already running above 80 per cent in Perth and Sydney, which effectively means hotels are full mid-week with limited breathing space,” he said.

“What the Australian Tourism Investment Guide does is showcase that Australia has some fantastic accommodation investment opportunities. As Australia re-orients itself towards Asia in this century, we would expect some of this investment to come from Asia. This in turn would promote Australian properties to Asian travel distribution markets,” Lee said.

Austrade CEO, Peter Grey, said that as a joint partner, Austrade endorsed this new whole of government initiative and looked forward to working with Tourism Australia.

“As Australia’s trade, investment and education promotion agency, one of our key responsibilities is to attract foreign investment and our international network will utilise these communication tools to showcase the investment opportunities across Australia’s tourism industry,” Grey said.


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