Published on : Thursday, December 5, 2013
Australia’s tourism industry needs the support of a research and development agency that can help guide tourism businesses to implement improved methods and build greater capacity to deliver high quality tourism services of the future.
Launching the results of a broad-scale industry survey into the research and development needs and demands of the tourism industry, ATEC Chairman, John King OAM said this kind of supply-side support was a crucial plank in ensuring Australia is a competitive destination able to catch hold of the growing demand for international travel.
“ATEC has long believed there is a need in our industry to support the supply-side capacity of our industry which means giving small-medium size tourism businesses the tools, priorities and information they need to successfully deliver the products international visitors are looking for,” Mr King said.
“Through our survey, we identified two key critical challenges the industry faces – People and the level of service quality and Infrastructure including access, telecoms, experiences, products and attractions – and it was clear the respondents saw a need for an independent agency to help guide them.
“We know that tourism businesses are not consciously innovative in the way that businesses in the information and communication technology, manufacturing and mining industries are and we believe there is much to be gained in supporting the industry to innovate in a similar way.”
Mr King said the tourism industry was dominated by SMEs and encompassed both private and public sector activity across regions that provide direct and indirect economic benefits for a large number of communities.
“Currently the level of tourism research is ad-hoc and minimal with industry investment traditionally focused on building demand for Australian travel experiences, primarily through advertising – but we know this demand-side growth needs to be met by high quality supply-side capacity.
“When measured against other export industries such as agriculture, tourism receives almost no public sector research and development funding despite our considerable contribution to the national GDP.
“Tourism is a true, future focused industry that is positive, enduring and offers significant long-term benefits for the national economy. We must invest now to ensure Australia gets maximum benefit from the growing desire for international travel.”
ATEC’s report, Future-proofing the tourism industry through research and development, undertook a gap analysis of the industry understanding of research and development with the aim of helping to develop the argument for further investment in this area.
The research involved 165 survey responses along with one-on-one interviews with responses from both ATEC and non-ATEC members nationally.
The key findings from this research project were:
96% of respondents support the concept of a central fund dedicated to R&D.
Most respondents believed that an R&D fund should be a government initiative.
There was general support for the diversion of a share of the Passenger Movement Charge towards supporting an R&D facility although some respondents were very negative to this idea.
There is a clear need to inform the sector of the benefits of R&D outcomes and to ensure that outputs are easily accessible.
There is a need for clarity on sources of assistance with Research and Development
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