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High Australian dollar not hurting tourism industry

Dixon: Impact of high Australian dollar on tourism overstated

Nov 24, 2011

The high value of the Australian dollar is not hurting tourism operators as hard as is commonly believed, Tourism Australia Chairman Geoff Dixon says.

In a speech to the Australian Institute of Company Directors on the Gold Coast on Wednesday Mr Dixon said the impact of the high dollar on the tourism industry had been overstated.

In fact, the number of international visitors arriving in Australia was actually growing steadily, he said.

Advertisement: Story continues below However, the high cost of currency meant visitors were spending less while here.

"People are coming, and they are coming in record numbers but without a doubt less value is being left in Australia as the visitors encounter higher than expected costs when they get here," Mr Dixon said.

"There is little we can do about it but ensure our product and service offerings are first class and worth the price we place on them."

The former Qantas boss said the high dollar had exacerbated the increased flow of domestic travellers heading off to cheaper overseas destinations but the lower cost of international flights were playing a more significant role.

"Be assured, the competitive price of an airfare is a bigger factor in destination choice than the value of our currency."

Mr Dixon also said Australian tourism bodies needed to "speak with one voice" when marketing overseas.

Rather than targeting markets independently, especially in Asia, state-based marketing bodies should pool their resources with Tourism Australia to deliver a greater impact.

"To speak with one voice about Australia, especially in Asia, to collectively sell Australia through stronger singular joint federal and state government backed campaigns would, without a doubt, be a more effective and efficient way of doing business."

Dixon: Impact of high Australian dollar on tourism overstated
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