Australia’s tourism impact under scrutiny

CANBERAA – A report by Australia’s Productivity Commission that queries the way tourism measures its economic impact has brought an angry response from the industry. Under the commission’s definition, tourism now contributes between 1.6 percent and 2.2 percent of gross domestic product rather than the previously accepted five percent. The commission’s report focuses on what it believes are true tourists - those who visit a place for a holiday or a cultural experience. Business and student travel is largely ruled out. The commission found that federal government assistance was worth A$230- A$260 million a year, while assistance from state governments was estimated at A$780-A$960 million. Matthew Hingerty, managing director of the Australian Tourism Export Council, said of the report, “This is an esoteric, table top exercise that creates uncertainty at the time that we least need it.”

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