ATEC congratulated Tourism Australia(TA) on its work as a 'world leading' marketing body, as it celebrates 50 years of international marketing success at this week's Australian Tourism Exchange in Sydney.
Tourism Australia has played a critical role, working in partnership with the Australian tourism export industry, in achieving phenomenal success in a dynamic and competitive global tourism marketplace.
"Our tourism export industry is a leading light in Australia's economy, with thousands of large and small tourism businesses across the country making an enormous contribution towards building an industry that is now worth $40bn in annual exports," ATEC Managing Director, Peter Shelley said.
"Since Australia first began a focused engagement with international visitors during the Melbourne Olympics in 1954 when we saw a mere 66,000 international visitors, our export industry has grown from strength to strength.
"The introduction of a centralised and focused marketing effort came in 1967 with the launch of the Australian Tourist Commission, and since then we have seen the number of international visitors skyrocket to almost 8 million a year. The growing value of the tourism export sector is a testament to the success of the partnership forged between TA and the broader tourism industry."
Mr Shelley said despite Australia's impressive tourism growth, recording double digit growth year-on-year in the majority of our major inbound markets, the Federal Government's recent budget failed the industry and huge number of people it employs.
"The 2017 budget completely failed to support tourism's exceptional economic performance and the Federal Government has provided little by way of leadership for an industry sector that is capable of delivering huge revenue and jobs right across this country.
"If we were looking at a new coal mine, the Australian Government would be all over it with handouts and support, but our tourism success and its untapped potential is completely ignored and, in fact, we are seeing a diminishing level of funding for our key marketing body.
"Tourism is an exceptional export. It is a positive industry that builds greater cultural respect, is an environmental leader, builds relationships and supports 270,000 businesses and around 1 million Australian jobs, touching almost every Australian family, and we deserve to be a higher priority for the Federal Government.
"At a time when our neighbours are investing more into their tourism industry, with New Zealand Government just announcing a $100 million budget boost for tourism, our industry is being told to do more with less.
"What we fail to understand is, why this government won't back a successful industry with a proven track record and only further to climb?" Mr Shelley said.