Australia is a tourism destination that could be cured of its tourism-related “diseases,” a new report from the Australian Tourism Commission has said.
Australia’s tourism industry is “at risk” of “collapse,” the report said, citing a lack of investment and “a dearth of investment capital.”
The report, released Tuesday, said tourism would remain the top export market for Australia’s economy in the coming decades.
“The key issue is to improve our ability to attract people to Australia,” said Australian Tourism Commissioner Steve McQueen.
“This includes attracting more tourists to the country and helping to address the problem of tourism-associated diseases such as the coronavirus and avian influenza.”
Australia has the world’s fifth-largest economy, with gross domestic product of $8.3 trillion.
It also has the largest number of residents of any country, at almost 24 million, according to the latest figures.
“We need to keep people coming to Australia because the economy is going to be there for a long time to come,” McQueen told reporters Tuesday.
“Our current economic situation is unsustainable and we need to start rebuilding the economy in a sustainable way.”
The commission said Australia’s overall tourism market has increased to $6.3 billion, but the country’s tourism-induced “disesases” have increased from 10.3 million people in 2009 to 22.9 million people last year.
The most significant growth was in the tourism-dependent “deteriorating regions” that have not been fully addressed by current government policies, the report noted.
The report identified “the critical role” of Australia’s “cultural heritage” as a key driver of its growth in tourism, but added that “the role of tourism as a way of generating investment” is also a factor.
“There are other factors that contribute to the growth of the tourism industry, but it is clear that Australia has a huge economic opportunity and opportunity to do something about the disease,” the commission said.
“Australia has a lot of cultural heritage and that’s why the disease problem is very important.”