Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) is calling on the Federal Government to provide a long-term funding commitment for the Survey of Tourist Accommodation.
The Survey of Tourist Accommodation (STA) is currently the only government approved data source covering the industry – an industry which has been identified by the government as one of five top-tier industries of the future, with over $8 billion worth of hotel investment in the development pipeline at present.
The call for funding certainty of the STA follows figures from the International Visitor Survey which showed that while there was growth in the number of visitors to regional areas (1.7 percent), there was negative growth overall in visitor nights in regional areas.. The figures showed that while overall international visitor nights in Australia surged by 5.38 percent in the year ending March 2017, international visitor nights spent in hotels, motels, serviced apartments and resorts in regional locations declined by -0.32 percent during the same period (when compared with the year before).
CEO of TAA, Carol Giuseppi, said that the STA had played an important role in encouraging the unprecedented level of investment in the Australian economy, with over 120 hotels and 30,000 rooms under construction or in advanced stages of planning.
“It is important that the STA continues for regional Australia, because we need the hotel investment to extend into regional areas,” said Ms Giuseppi. “Regional Australia represents 45 percent of visitor nights and 44 percent of visitor expenditure; however, these areas are crying out for more investment in both new and upgraded tourism infrastructure.
“Governments have a role in assisting industry by investing in data that supports investors’ ability to secure finance from the banks. Major hotel projects can take up to five years from conception to completion, so accurate long-term data is also a key component of the decision making process. Because of the diverse mix of accommodation options in regional areas, there is currently no other trusted source of data for regional Australia.
“The poor dispersal of Chinese visitors in most states demonstrates there is considerable untapped potential for growth in the regions. We need to improve the reasons to visit and stay overnight. This will require major investment in tourism infrastructure and it will need to address barriers to that investment. We welcomed the announcement of the Tourism Demand Driver Grants in the federal budget and reinforce the need for State and Federal governments to support tourism investment in the regions that drives benefits across the visitor economy.”