Australia’s $100 billion tourism industry took a blow in the Federal Budget with an increase in the cost of visiting the country, and a cut to the funding.
Tourism Australia was hit with a $14 million blow to its budget and the government underlined an extra $410 million in revenue over four years from a price hike for visa applications.
The federal government concreted its commitment to building the Western Sydney Airport, with an initial $2.3 million in funding towards the $5.3 billion cost, and it was announced that taxpayers would also chip in $2.9 billion over 10 years to improve transport infrastructure in Sydney’s western suburbs to support it.
However, among the limited sweeteners for tourism were:
- $19 million in continued funding for demand-driving infrastructure
- $5 million to help tourism-reliant areas recover from Tropical Cyclone Debbie.
Of that $5 million dollars funding, $3.5 million would be given to the Queensland Government to fund tourism projects in cyclone-affected areas, and $1 million from Tourism Australia’s existing budget combined with a further $500,000 would be set to market the continued availability of tourist venues in North Queensland.
Industry leaders were also dissatisfied, when the government once again failed to deliver on a 2010 election promise to create a National Convention Bids Fund.
Tourism Accommodation Australia and the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux and had sought $10 million to help Australia compete with other countries for major conferences, because in 2016, Australia missed out on 61 international conventions and suffered an 11 percent decline in overseas visitors travelling down under to attend a conference.