Australian Regional Tourism Network calls for tourism 2030 action plan

Open letter to partners from ARTN Chair, David Sheldon

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Australian Regional Tourism Network

Australian Regional Tourism Network

Australian Regional Tourism Network
David Sheldon , Chair of the Australian Regional Tourism Network


The outcomes from the 2015-16 budget for the Tourism sector reinforces the Australian Regional Tourism Network’s recent call for a Tourism 2030 action Plan.

Our Industry sectors need to come together and provide a platform for all levels of Government to work with industry to ensure tourism is part of the super 5 industry groups driving the Australian economy.

Although there are some taste tempters within the budget, the reality is there is very little on offer from this government to suggest they are planning for the future.

As for Regional Australia and enabling infrastructure we have been left out in the cold. Enabling infrastructure will become vital for regions and the industry as we head toward 2030.  Perhaps as we move towards the election there will be encouraging announcements from all sides of the government.

At present, we continue to pat ourselves on the back at how well we are doing but real reform is required, a bipartisan approach from all levels government with industry prepared to roll up its sleeves and show leadership and be a sector that will provide the Australian economy with significant growth and jobs over the next decade.

I continue to ask "What will the Tourism Landscape look like in 2030?"  This is the question I raised on behalf of Australian Regional Tourism Network, at a recent ARTN Board meeting in Canberra attended by Tourism Minister Senator Richard Colbeck.  I raised the issue of setting 2030 tourism strategies, policies, plans, roles responsibilities and reporting criteria, a collaborative approach from both Industry and the Federal Government. For too long now Industry has allowed Government to lead, we as an industry need to take a greater leadership role and a 2030 transition path should be a section of policy development and delivery.

Most of the time it’s Industry having a go at Government, no matter at what level. I believe Government does a far better job than we give credit. Just look around the globe and you will see how fortunate we as an Industry are.  With the success of the 2020 Tourism Plan heading towards the end of its cycle the challenge is to have the next decade ready for action. During 2017 there is a planned review of Tourism 2020 so the time is right to commence the process.  Our Prime Minister talks about innovation, here is an opportunity.

As tourism gains momentum as a super sector economic driver, the Industry needs to prepare. We will witness a quantum leap away from the metropolitan experiences within Australia to the diversity of regions. We need to look outside the square, source alternate funding opportunities, develop serious investment strategies, have a greater understanding of the digital economy and communications.  The value and experience of the destination.  Enabling infrastructure air, road, sea and rail strategies will become paramount for Australia’s regional dispersal to continue visitation growth.

We must not forget the most important enabling infrastructure, people, for delivery.  A re-energised strategy to encourage our domestic market to discover what’s in their own backyard.  I know everyone’s excited about the current Chinese and other Asian opportunities of growth but will these markets still have the energy by 2030?

At present, your network ARTN, a solution focus network, is working with Austrade, ALGA, Caravan and Camping, Tourism and Transport Forum, The National Farmers Federation and State Tourism Organisations on the future. ARTN will continue to develop alignment with like-minded organisations in the development of tourism in Regional Australia.

We need a bipartisan, out of the election cycle, approach from Government and an industry that is prepared to roll up its sleeves and do some hard yards instead of the continued catch cry, ‘Please sir may I have some more?’

Yours sincerely,
David Sheldon

Chair ARTN

Note: Australian Regional Tourism Network is a ‘not for profit’ national membership body representing tourism in regional Australia. 

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May 17th, 2016
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