Multi Cultural Society Challenges Tourism

Another emerging reality further challenging the Australian tourism industry is the increasing number of people spending holidays visiting family or friends, potentially dampening profitability for operators.

Roy Morgan Research conducted in the lead up to a new national conference to galvanise the industry shows almost half of all Australians who holidayed in the last 12 months were motivated by visiting family or friends. Tony Charters, convenor of Tourism and Events Excellence conference being held in Melbourne 5 – 7 September warns the industry and governments cannot rely on raw visitor numbers to boost the industry’s profitability.

Visiting family and friends was also a dominant motivation for the respondents’ next trip, when asked about their plans for the upcoming 12 months.

“Australia’s population continues to become more multi-cultural with the number of Australian residents born in Asia having doubled since 1998,” said Mr Charters. “The profile is similar with New Zealanders whose population has increased almost 50% in the same timeframe, and the reality is people will spend annual leave to reunite with friends and family and won’t necessarily be paying for accommodation or visiting attractions.

“As this population trends grows it will continue to reduce the pie for tourism operators, and it needs to be acknowledged and planned for, especially with the industry salivating about the potential of China.”

Mr Charters said some destinations harness the ‘visiting family or friends’ better than others. He said the globalised economy and the mining boom had also fuelled a mobile workforce with interstate and international travel a natural extension for families and friends to reconnect.

“The landscape for the Australian tourism industry is changing rapidly and there are many emerging trends that will become critical and growing influences on the business environment. Australian business is renowned for being innovative and nimble and that is exactly what our tourism industry needs to be to embrace the 21st century marketplace.”

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