Tourism makes an important contribution to Australia’s export earnings. The objective of tourism marketing is not merely to increase international visitor arrivals, but primarily, to increase expenditure injected into Australia on goods and services purchased by tourists. Recently there has been an increased emphasis on the importance of enhancing Australia’s tourism “yield” by attracting visitors from high-spending markets (sited in the Australian Government 2004; Dwyer et al.2007). To market Australia as a tourist destination, Tourism Australia works closely with the travel industry, the Government and the State/Territories. The demand function for international tourism for a given destination may be expressed as a function of income, prices, and marketing expenditure. Australia has had one of the strongest performing economies of the world. Australia has an efficient government sector, a flexible labour market with a very competitive business sector. Such environment is a key driver of tourism activity. The policy settings set by the government are designed to deliver a vibrant tourism industry that makes a strong contribution to the economy. In Australia tourism is increasingly seen as an instrument for sustaining indigenous communities, many of whom look to tourism for a better future. The Australian federal, State/Territory governments has sought to create tourism policies to facilitate market growth and product development in the indigenous sector.
On 5 June 2003, the Federal government released a draft medium to long term strategy to help grow a sustainable Australian tourism industry and better position it against future shocks by making it more robust and flexible. Main key themes of the strategy include sustainable growth and diversification of the Australian tourism product, and a focus on business yield and niche markets. The shift from an emphasis on quantity to quality is important for reducing pressure on infrastructure, protecting the environment, encouraging diversification and product development and improving profitability in the industry. Australian environment is unique from the unspoilt beaches, tropical rainforests, rugged mountain ranges and vast tracts of desert. Some few examples of Australia’s natural wonders include the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is as big as the total combined area of the UK and Ireland which contains more than 1,000 islands, from sandy bays to rainforest isles. The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area Tropical North Queensland is the sort of place that someone would like to travel, it covers 900,000 hectares. The Uluru Ayers Rock is considered one of the great wonders of the world and one of the Australia’s most recognizable natural icons. Australians’ care about their unique environment such as sustainable tourism is an important factor in policy making. The Australian government is committed to and works closely with the tourism industry to deliver an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible tourism product.
A significant contribution to tourism is made by cultural tourism. The experiences generated by Australian performances, visual arts and our heritage are unique. Australia’s National Tourism Policy the broad mission statement of Australia’s Federal government in relation to tourism policy is to contribute to Australia’s economic and social well being through the development of policies that achieve on internationally competitive tourism sector focused on sustainable growth. In the year 1998 a National Action Plan for Tourism was released by the Federal government to provide direction for tourism policy formulation and industry planning. Some of the key objectives of the Plan included developing potential new and emerging markets through targeted marketing strategies. Encouraging the development of efficient and competitive transportation networks, Fostering regional tourism development, enhancing industry standards and skill levels, improving the industry’s information base, encouraging the conservation and preservation of Australia’s unique natural and cultural heritage, encouraging diversification of the industry’s product base and reinforcing Australia’s image as a safe and friendly destination. The whole of the government approach pursued in Australia is intended to ensure a sound economic foundation that aims to create an optimum policy environment for tourism development.
Community involvement is an important factor that is likely to significantly influence the sustainability of any tourism development. The involvement of locals in the planning and operational stages can ensure that development will be socially and environmentally responsible and that resulting impacts will be perceived as appropriate by the host community. Tourism businesses in Australia will continue to face a range of short- and long- term external shocks and challenges in major climate change reports. Climate change is an example of a material threat to Australia’s tourism industry. The Australian government should try controlling the number of visitors arriving in Kakadu Park which is a World Heritage site, the government can either do so by limiting numbers to match capacity rather than having the tourists concentrated in time in a focused ‘tourist season. The Australian government realized in 1990s that tourism was affecting wildlife in the park. A number of bird species including red-winged parrots, sulphur coackatoos and shiny flycatchers were recorded as being ‘highly disturbed’ when tourist boats passed them.
Most activities done at the Great Barrier Reef which is made up of some 600 islands, 300 cay (reef islands) and almost 300 submerged reefs. The chef activity on the reef is scuba diving and snorkelling. There is increase in environmental impacts by these human activities which include physical destruction of reefs by anchors and divers’ feet and hands. Divers can even cause damage to the coral merely by resting on it, as it so sensitive. Some boats end up polluting the water by releasing sewage, furthermore divers feed or touch fish which leads to the modification of fish behavior. The Australian government should have a pandemic preparedness and planning for the Australian Tourism Industry for example an influenza pandemic in Australia would be unlike any other modern disaster and would create new challenges for communities and business that operate within them. Should an influenza pandemic emerge, the tourism industry is likely to be impacted by temporary measures to prevent its transmission and spread, such as restrictions on travel, closer of public places, reduced consumer confidence. My personal critique of the policies are by developing potential new emerging markets through targeted marketing strategies the Australian government should try improving their international marketing strategies and effectiveness through a greater focus on regional dispersal and by freshing and enhancing the brand Australia. Encouraging the development of efficient and competitive transportation networks can only work if the government helps to facilitate the development and growth of sustainable air, sea and land transport services and key tourism infrastructure.
Fostering regional tourism development can be achieved by supporting domestic tourism marketing and doing promotions, which include regional promotions by advertising in the newspapers or television. The policy of enhancing the industry standards and skills levels can be achieved by the government ensuring training delivers skills appropriate for the tourism workforce and businesses and promote improved productivity. Improving the industry’s information base can be achieved by improving tourism information, research and forecasts to more effectively serve the needs of industry and government. Encouraging the conservation and preservation of Australia’s unique natural and cultural heritage policy can be a success if only the Ministry of Tourism in Australia improves Australian knowledge of Australia by encouraging domestic travel.
A healthy tourism sector contributes to the economic and social well being of Australians. Major policy challenges for the future include coordination of all levels of government working towards an agreed framework between the various levels of government on the national coordination of tourism development will assist in clarifying the roles and responsibilities between the different levels of government.