Australia Must React to US Tourism Threat, Warns ATEC

US plan to increase its share of the international tourism market is a “serious threat” to the Aussie industry, according to the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC).The warning was made in response to last week’s White House announcement, which detailed the directive to increase visa processing capacity, particularly from key Australian inbound markets like China and Brazil, by 40% over the next year.

The move is being seen as a government-led attempt to reverse the USA’s recent drop in the market share of international travellers’ spend, from 17% to 11% over the last decade, which has largely been attributed to increased competition and security.

“America is in overdrive in regaining lost ground and consolidating their efforts to recover market share,” said ATEC managing director Felicia Mariani.

She added: “They are walking the talk about whole of government commitment in acknowledging that tourism is a driving force in kick starting the economy of the US, and creating new jobs and wealth across the country.

“It’s time for Australia to stop talking about how important tourism is to the economy and start taking action in the key areas that will remove the barriers to our performance and success.

“Australian tourism needs the same passion, fire and drive at the highest level of our Government. Now is the time for us to take an honest look at our performance and competitiveness and plan for how we will stay in front of the pack. We can’t afford to wait until we have to play catch up, as the US is doing now with this announcement.”