The UNWTO Secretary-General concluded a 5-day trip to Australia where he met with federal and state government officials as well as main private sector associations and UNWTO Affiliate Members. During his visit, Mr. Rifai underscored the progress made by Australia in converging with UNWTOs main policy recommendations: supporting travel facilitation, intelligent taxation and sustainability (7-11 February).
Mr. Rifai congratulated the Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb, and his team for their commitment to review taxation on the sector and facilitate visas. “The transversal nature of tourism calls for a broad focus of tourism policy, interacting with a set of general policy measures; Australia shows how it can be done,” he said, and added: “Australia sets a fine example to the world as a leading destination in sustainability, marketing, research and planning. Through enhancing aviation policies, improving visa policies and increasing tourism investment, Australia will be well on track to achieving its Tourism 2020 goals.”
Since taking office in September last year, the Australian Government has frozen the Passenger Movement Charge (PMC) and has announced new visa policies for Chinese nationals, one of the fastest growing outbound markets in the world and to Australia.
"Chinese business visitors will now be eligible to apply for a three-year multiple entry visa, increasing the prospect of repeat visits to Australia, which would be warmly welcomed by our tourism sector," said Mr. Robb. The changes follow the government's decision to grant increased seating capacity to Chinese airlines to help cater for increased demand during the busy Chinese New Year period in Australia.
The UNWTO Secretary-General further highlighted the role Australia can play in positioning tourism in the international trade agenda. "Tourism has now a distinctive voice in Australia’s foreign policy, after being included in the portfolio of the Ministry of Trade and Investment, allowing for tourism to be clearly positioned in international trade agreements, among other strategic areas," he said. In a meeting with Minister Andrew Robb, Mr. Rifai highlighted the opportunity to fully seize tourism’s new positioning within the trade and investment portfolio.
During his visit, the UNWTO Secretary-General also met with Tourism Australia and Destination New South Wales, as well as major private sector stakeholders Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) and the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC), and showed his support for industry excellence by attending the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards, organized by National Tourism Alliance.
With around U$32 billion in international tourism revenues per year, tourism is Australia’s largest services export.
Mr. Rifai concluded his visit in Brisbane to keynote the CAUTHE Conference, a major event hosted and organized by the University of Queensland gathering tourism and hospitality professionals, as well as a meeting with Queensland’s Minister for Tourism Ms. Jann Stuckey, the Queensland Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games (DTESB) and the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC).
Logos, product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.