The Visitor Economy: more than visitor spend and jobs


In response to the Government’s draft long-term tourism strategy to 2030, the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) pitched the case that the visitor economy must be valued and recognised for its contribution beyond visitor spend and jobs.

THRIVE 2030 (The Re-Imagined Visitor Economy) was released by the Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, for consultation in late November as a proposed strategy to rebuild Australia’s visitor economy. BECA welcomed this opportunity to re-emphasise the importance of the business events industry as a key driver of the visitor economy and its needs for recovery and rebound. 

BECA Secretary, Andrew Hiebl stated, This is a critical once in a decade opportunity to get the foundations and strategic direction right. Given the major disruption that the visitor economy and business events industry has endured over the last two years due to Australia’s response to the global coronavirus pandemic, the next long-term strategy holds great responsibility.

“THRIVE 2030 must bring together an industry that has been hardest hit and inspire with a strategic vision that will drive our success through the decade ahead. It must provide a future focus and direction that the industry can rally behind and align its efforts. It must excite the nation!”

While Tourism 2020 was successful due to its straightforward and targeted focus on overnight expenditure and yield, the next long-term strategy must elevate the visitor economy within Government as a serious and leading contributor to Australia’s economy. 

Noting that prior to COVID-19, Australia’s strong and growing visitor economy earned over $166 billion in total visitor expenditure in 2019 and was the nation’s fourth largest exporter ahead of beef, petroleum and wool, the industry has not gained the attention and recognition of Government that it deserves in comparison to its primary industry counterparts. 

BECA recommends that for a whole-of-industry strategy to be successful, a whole-of-government approach is required – both interdepartmental and cross-portfolio. While it is recognised that Austrade plays a significant role in developing tourism policy, managing programs, and providing research to support the industry, the role of other government departments in the recovery and future success of the visitor economy must be defined inclusive of key performance measures. 

The visitor economy has a substantial role to play in delivering on the Government’s agenda and in the global competition for consumers, talent, business, and investment. Beyond high yield visitor spend, business events are recognised for:

- Attracting global talent and knowledge transfer.
- Stimulating trade, encouraging foreign investment, and catalysing industry growth.
- Nurturing research collaboration, fostering innovation and boosting productivity.
- Promoting cultural exchange and diplomacy.

“THRIVE 2030 must be designed in a way that gives the Australian Government reason to invest in the visitor economy and should be positioned as the centrepiece of Australia’s economic diplomacy and regional prosperity agenda,” said Hiebl.

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Download BECA's response to THRIVE 2030.



Contact details:
Andrew Hiebl
BECA Secretary
0408 367 338