Minister for tourism, Martin Ferguson (pictured) and the minister assisting on tourism, Nick Sherry, have welcomed the “significant progress” made in advancing the National Long-Term Tourism Strategy at the Tourism Ministers Council meeting in Canberra.
“The meeting was very constructive with ministers reaching agreement on a number of key outcomes, pieces of work and stringent timelines that move us to the next stage of the National Long-Term Tourism Strategy. Ministers signed off on the first stage of the strategy in which evidence has been gathered to drive policy change across all levels of government,” Mr Ferguson said.
“By doing this we are moving closer to the goals of Tourism 2020 that are shared by ministers and industry.”
A significant outcome of the meeting was the release of the National Online Tourism Strategy. This strategy is designed to enhance the online capability of the Australian tourism industry to promote and distribute their tourism product online.
“Advancing the tourism industry’s technological ability is a priority of the strategy,” Mr Ferguson said. “Australian tourism businesses have to keep up with leading-edge technology to maintain their competitiveness.”
Mr Sherry, said one of the greatest challenges facing businesses is that although nine out of ten are connected to the Internet, only about a third are using it effectively to their benefit. “This is an area where governments, through this strategy, can really make a difference,” senator Sherry. “Tourism Research Australia data shows that more and more tourists are using the internet as a source of information and to make bookings. It is vital to growth in the sector that tourism businesses capitalise on the National Broadband Network.
“The NBN will make it possible for Australian companies to deliver more sophisticated techniques, marketing and content on their websites – to potential overseas and domestic customers.”
A number of reports and policy actions were agreed by the federal, state and territory minsters to address the labour and skills, regulatory, investment and online capability issues facing the tourism sector.
Key outcomes included:
• the nomination of eight “hot spots” – one in each state and territory – to trial measures aimed at closing labour and skills gaps in the tourism industry;
• agreement to harmonise recognition of responsible service of alcohol certificates;
• endorsement of the National Tourism Incident Communication Plan; and
• agreement to publicly release a number of key reports and fact sheets and research on investment barriers and climate change programs.