Growth predictions promote confidence for hotels

Tourism Research Australia released its 2017 Tourism Forecast report on August 2, covering national forecasts, state and territory forecasts, influencing economic factors, risks and other driving factors. Accomnews looked at tourism forecasts across all states, and how these forecasts are likely to affect hotels in coming years.

According to the report, total visitor nights in Australia are forecast to increase by 4.7 percent in 2017-18, from 603 million nights in 2016-17, so 631 million nights. Just under half of these nights are expected to be from international visitors, while 54 percent will be from domestic overnight travel of Australian residents.

What will growth look like?

Tourism growth in 2017-18 is expected to be largest for the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, South Australia, and New South Wales.

The Australian Capital Territory will experience a seven percent increase in tourism, bringing it to 11.8 million nights, while Queensland will experience a 5.7 percent increase to 146 million nights, and South Australia and New South Wales will both see a 4.8 percent increase, bringing visitor nights to 34 million and 198 million nights respectively. Other states and territories can expect to see an increase of between three and four percent.

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While the report states that there are significantly more domestic visitor nights than international visitor nights, international visitors are expected to increase with changes to the Australian economy. Hotels can expect to cater to more international visitors in coming years, with forecasts assuming that the Australian dollar will average US$0.72 in 2017-18, and US$0.74 in 2018-19. The lower value of the Australian dollar, if maintained, is also expected to continue driving international visitor growth.

What does this mean for the industry?

Speaking on behalf of the industry, the Accommodation Association of Australia said the Tourism Research Australia figures, which predict that in 2026/27 there will be 15 million international visitors to Australia, which would represent growth of 75 percent on 2016/17, should increase business confidence.

“If the forecasts turn out to be correct, tourism is on track to become a powerhouse industry again,” said the association’s chief executive officer, Richard Munro.

“If the predicted growth is to be achieved, dispersal of international visitors outside of our major capital cities must be a priority and therefore, all levels of government – particularly local government, who reap tens of millions of dollars in fees and levies from accommodation businesses – should implement strategies which stimulate regional businesses and employment to cater for the influx of these visitors.

“For example, investment in events in regional Australia is a mechanism which helps facilitate visitor dispersal.

“Also important, given the number of visitors from China is forecast to increase by 168 percent in the next decade, is accommodation businesses being adequately prepared for higher numbers of Chinese tourists.”

Mr Munro said Australia’s reputation for providing high-quality and safe accommodation options for international visitors should not be taken for granted.

“The Accommodation Association welcomes the fact that some state governments have decided to take action against the practices of rogue sharing economy providers by introducing and/or tightening enforcement of standards for properties which are used for tourism accommodation,” he said.

“The practice of residential apartment blocks having most or all of their rooms posted on sharing economy platforms – which makes them quasi-hotels – must be stamped out.”

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