However, regional areas underperform capital cities,
and staff shortages may hinder growth.
With the UNWTO reporting international arrivals to Oceania (including Australia) up 7% in the first four months of 2017, tourism will remain a high performing sector – along with gas, agribusiness, international education, and wealth management – making Australia a ‘lucky’ country for tourism growth.
That is the assessment of Bryon Merzeo, consultant for Deloitte’s Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure industry group.
Merzeo notes that, according to a Tourism Australia survey, Australia ranks number one on scenery, sight-seeing, being financially ‘worth travelling to’, and is an exciting place for conferences. 
He says the inbound tourism boom is being egged on by the soft Australian dollar still only valued at around US$0.78 cents. With Australia perceived as relatively good value, international visitors trips are expected to increase 6.9% per annum for the next three years. Leading source markets will be India (arrivals expected to grow at 12% per year), China and Indonesia (10%), and USA (4%). At the same time, Deloitte forecasts domestic trips to rise 3.4% per annum until 2020.
The result is that growth remains strong across many sub sectors of the travel industry, notably into Australia’s state capitals, which are seeing a hotel building boom. These gateway capitals are also benefiting from more cruise ships arriving, more direct flights being added from overseas markets, (Qantas will soon fly London to Perth direct), and continued high demand from overseas tourists.
However, there are disparities and growing pains, says Bronwyn White, strategist and co-founder of MyTravelResearch.com. White says she is concerned about inadequate dispersal of tourism dollars beyond Australia’s visitor hot spots.
She believes tourists visiting friends and relatives, especially those from Commonwealth countries such as India, should be encouraged more.
With Tourism Australia no longer responsible for promoting Australia to its home market, local authorities and councils have to reach out to domestic and international travellers.
“Many upcountry local authorities and councils need better financial planning, tourism investment support and marketing guidance to really get their share of the tourism dollar,” says White.
To get their share, MyTravelResearch.com recommends that upcountry destinations in Australia be digital ready, embrace content marketing, fully understand who’s travelling to their area, take infrastructure planning and zoning seriously, and make service a number one priority.
Even after addressing these issues, labour supply and skill levels will be a challenge. With a hotel construction boom underway – there are over 125 new properties in the pipeline across the country – MyTravelResearch.com tourism industry members wonder where the workers will come from to sustain the hotel and tourism boom.
“We don’t have enough people in training. Migration pathways are being reduced and we’re in a building boom,” said one MyTravelResearch.com member. “So where will the staff come from?”
Merzeo notes that Austrade had identified the challenge and has commissioned tourism labour force surveys.
Labour and room supply notwithstanding, Merzeo says, “We are in a fantastic place with a lot of positive growth signs. Everyone seems to love Australia.”
1. We are on track to achieve our goal of more than A$115 billion in overnight spend by 2020, http://www.tourism.australia.com/en/about/our-organisation/our-performance-and-reporting/tourism-2020.html1. We are on track to achieve our goal of more than A$115 billion in overnight spend by 2020, http://www.tourism.australia.com/en/about/our-organisation/our-performance-and-reporting/tourism-2020.html
2. Tourism and Hotel Market Outlook 2017, Edition 2, Deloitte Access Economics: 68% occupancy observed H1, nationwide.
3. In Asia and the Pacific, international arrivals were up 6% through April with sound results across all four sub regions. South Asia (+14%) led growth, followed by Oceania (+7%), http://media.unwto.org/press-release/2017-07-14/strong-tourism-results-first-part-2017
4. BTLC 3: https://www2.deloitte.com/au/en/pages/building-lucky-country/articles/positioning-for-prosperity.html
5. Australia competes strongly on the world stage in most areas, ranking #1 on scenery, sight-seeing, being a destination worth travelling to and being an exciting destinationfor conferences.
Page 5 http://businessevents.australia.com/content/dam/assets/document/1/6/w/u/n/2002127.pdf
6. THMO edition 2, page 14
MyTravelResearch.com is a market research and marketing firm specializing in the travel, tourism and aviation industries. Its specialty is providing insights that are actionable.
Founded by principals with lifetime careers in travel, tourism and aviation, MyTravelResearch.com exists to build the visitor economy and successful tourism businesses. It does this by putting the voice of the customer and best practice business thinking into an easy to implement, hands-on approach via an innovative membership model.
MyTravelResearch.com can help:
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