Tourism Australia’s funding has been slashed by A$36 million (US$23.3 million) in the Albanese Budget.
The reason for the cut was “due to the temporary nature of the government’s additional tourism marketing campaigns as international travel resumes”, the Treasury stated.
Tourism Australia’s funding has been cut from A$214 million to A$178 million in 2023, with a further A$2 million cut to A$176 million by 2025 – its budget was increased in 2021 to help it mount a comeback with new campaign Ruby the Roo.
Tourism minister Don Farrell focused instead on the A$48 million commitment from the government to upgrade caravan parks and alleviate the staffing shortage to grow and rebuild the sector to “return to the economic powerhouse we know it to be”.
Australian Chamber’s tourism executive chair John Hart offered tentative support for the budget but called for “more to be done to assist with post-pandemic recovery”.
Hart said: “A greater investment in targeting marketing initiatives to accelerate international tourist and backpacker arrivals will increase Australia’s capacity to attract visitors in a highly competitive international market.”
Accommodation Association president Leanne Harwood welcomed the extra funding for the Hub platform to help with the skills gap and staffing shortages in the sector.
“No matter where you go across Australia, the biggest challenge we are all facing as Australia’s travel and tourism sector gets back to normal, is filling the skills shortfall and workforce gap created during Covid.”
She added that the A$10 million in training and skills development will help attract, educate and re-train the 100,000 staff needed, and support First Nations Australians, people living with a disability, and older Australians.
The Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) said the budget’s further investment in the Quality Tourism Framework will help small businesses, as well as the visitor economy to remain competitive and support a sustainable tourism sector.
The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) said the industry faces a tough restart with inbound visitation still lagging well behind numbers seen leading up to the 2020 border closures.
“A commitment from governments, both state and federal, to support the rebuild of our industry will be a crucial factor in helping to recover our $45 billion export tourism industry and get visitors back to our destination,” said ATEC’s managing director Peter Shelley.