AmCham Tourism Committee: Riding the Wave of International Demand

Monday 26 March 2018

Article by Dean Rizzo


As the world becomes more interconnected and developed, people around the globe have found it easier than ever to travel and do business at the international level. Due to Australia’s welcoming people, beautiful beaches, serene landscapes, and ability to provide unique experiences and interesting destinations, there is no coincidence that an influx of foreign investment and money generated through tourism has flowed into the country. In 2017 alone, the international tourism sector brought in a record $41.3 billion ($3.5 billion per month), a 6% growth on the previous year.  The booming tourism industry has also positively affected employment here in Australia, creating 100,000 jobs and continuously growing stronger in number every quarter.

Citizens of the United States of America in particular have taken a strong interest in doing business and touring here in Australia, with 2018 marking 100 years of Mateship between the two countries. Arrivals from the United States and spending are currently at record high levels and are only expected to grow. This uptick in arrivals can be attributed to the favourable exchange rates, increased aviation capacity and highly competitive air fares with respectable and reliable airlines such as Virgin Australia and Delta Air Lines (the 2018 Official Travel Partner of AmCham). As a result, Australian businesses have enjoyed the economic benefits of Americans increasing their spending habits here in Australia. In fact, Americans have played a significant role in helping to grow the tourism industry here in Australia as they have been steadily growing their spending by roughly three per cent each year, resulting in the generation of $3.8 billion for Australian businesses in just the last year. It is estimated that by the year 2020, Americans will contribute $6 billion annually to the tourism sector, with all of Australia’s states benefiting.  As the introduction of new infrastructure in New South Wales continues to be developed, the state has been able to generate the most money from tourism with $10.4 billion, which was a nine per cent increase on the previous year. tourism

Victoria, the home of the Australian Open, is next with $7.65 billion in spending, and an 11 per cent rise on the previous year. Queensland comes in third and took in $5.3 billion, a four per cent improvement on the previous year. The only state in which the boom was denied, marginally, was in Western Australia, which saw spending lower by five per cent on the previous year; however, it still generated an impressive $2.3 billion for the year.

In order to enhance Australia’s economy and upward trending international status, on 15 March the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Steven Ciobo MP at the Destination Australia Conference in Melbourne announced the government’s plan to help Australian businesses bring in the world’s best minds, entrepreneurs, and talents to Australia. The initiative, known as the Bid Fund Program, will see $12 million made available over the next three years in order to help aid the tourism sector in generating more money.

Minister Ciobo said:

“To help create new Australian jobs, we want visitors who are going to spend more, get out into the regions and importantly come back for another trip. This is the type of traveller attracted by business events.

“We will help provide Australia with a competitive advantage when bidding to secure new high-value international business events through the establishment of Australia’s first ever federal government-funded business events bid fund.

The plan presents a great opportunity for Australian businesses to promote their strengths as a country, not just in terms of having foreigners enjoy the beautiful beaches and delicious food, but also to expose them to some of Australia’s more innovative and successful sub-sectors such as advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, infrastructure, and resources and energy. This initiative is more than just helping out the tourism sector in Australia; it also has the potential to open new doors and create new international business partners for a wide range of businesses, which in turn will create a significant and positive impact on the Australian economy. In order to sustain the boom, it is essential for Australia to continue to attract high spending tourists, visitors, and companies. This initiative makes it possible for Australia to remain competitive in hosting conventions, conferences and exhibitions. Hosting these types of events plays a critical role in expanding the markets and revenue for a wide range of businesses such as hotels, restaurants, transportation and entertainment services.

In order to capitalise on the economic boom the tourism sector is experiencing, AmCham has launched a Tourism Committee. This committee will actively explore business opportunities for its members in the sectors impacted, advocate for policies that will make Australian an even more attractive tourist destination, and will seek to cooperate with the government to promote the interests of both Australia and the United States, by providing both a discussion platform on issues and challenges related to these industries and also via networking opportunities. The Tourism Committee will assiduously work in examining industry trends and standards with a goal of enhancing Australia’s overall leisure and business travel experience and exposure to the international market in general. The Committee will also assist in setting standards and helping to improve a competitive advantage over other destinations in the Asia-Pacific.

Dean Rizzo is currently interning at AmCham in Sydney.

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