International visitors’ total expenditure on food, drink and accommodation exceeded $12.3 billion for the year ending June 2017, according to data from International Visitor Survey (IVS), released on 6 September.

Out of a total spend of $40.6 billion, expenditure on food, drink and accommodation represented 30.4 percent of the total. Compared to the corresponding period in 2016, expenditure in the food, drink and accommodation category grew by 11.1 percent.

Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) CEO Juliana Payne said international visitors’ record expenditure on dining throughout their stay reflected the consistently high standards and quality of Australia’s cafés and restaurants.

“Australia’s truly world-class café and restaurant sector has seen dining out become an indispensable part of visiting this country.

“What today’s statistics from the IVS show is the high regard with which international visitors view our cafés and restaurants,” says Payne.

Payne commended Tourism Australia’s Restaurant Australia campaign, which resulted in a 21 percent increase on food and drink expenditure or $886 million between December 2013 and December 2015.

“The success of the Restaurant Australia campaign highlights the importance of investing in tourism marketing channels to attract visitors to these businesses,” says Payne.

“What this campaign shows is the kind of success you can achieve when you combine a world-class product offering with the sophisticated marketing effort that it deserves.”

Payne also emphasised the need to invest in skills and training for the café and restaurant industry to cater for the growing demand among international tourists.

“The growth in Australia’s international tourist market and the unprecedented demand for dining out at cafés and restaurants underlines the importance of addressing the chronic skills shortages across the hospitality sector,” she says.

“In order to realise the full spectrum of economic benefits from Australia’s burgeoning international tourist market, it is vital for these businesses to have access to the types of skilled and qualified workers they need.

“Without adequate investment in education and training programs from governments throughout the country, this puts Australia’s reputation among these international tourists at risk.”

Image: Tourism Australia

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