Between 2015-2016, tourism grew three times faster than the Australian economy, according to the Deloitte Tourism and Hotel Market Outlook. How much did it contribute to the economy? AUD49.7bn or 2.9% of the total GDP in 2016, says World Travel & Tourism Council’s Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2017 report. During the same time, the tourism industry directly accounted for 545,000 jobs and indirectly supported 1,495,000 jobs.
Besides contributing to the national GDP, at the local and state level, tourism is either the ‘bread-and-butter’ or a supportive force when the main or major economic drivers are witnessing softer demand. Its influence can be more readily seen in hotel occupancy rates, especially in the major hotel markets of Sydney, Darwin and Brisbane. The Deloitte report pointed out that the gains were recorded during a rather downcast economy in Australia and worldwide, and in the face of a favorable Australia dollar and slowing income growth in China. In recent years, China has emerged as an extremely popular source country for visitors to Australia, gaining ground on New Zealand.
The commitment to enhancing tourism prospects is evident from state initiatives. Brisbane’s ‘koala advantage’ and Gold Coast’s investment in shopping centre infrastructure and a cruise terminal are just two examples among thousands of local and eco-tourism projects being envisioned and implemented country-wide.