R&CA welcomes tourism funding in Tassie budget

27 May, 2016 by
Danielle Bowling

Returning the budget to surplus and increasing funding for Tourism Tasmania will boost industry confidence and assist Tasmania reach its target of attracting 1.5 million visitors per year by 2020, according Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA). 

R&CA CEO John Hart said considered economic management, infrastructure development and additional funding for Tourism Tasmania will give tourism operators confidence to invest in their businesses.

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“Tasmania is the most tourism-dependent state in Australia. The visitor economy represents 9.1 percent of Gross State Product and employs around 37,500 people.

“Research indicates 41 percent of travellers would travel to Tasmania specifically for its food and beverage offering. The state’s seafood, cheese and wine are huge selling points. 

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“Increased funding for Tourism Tasmania including aviation attraction means this agency can continue to build on campaigns already in market and encourage more visitors to the state. These visitors generate significant economic activity by staying in hotels, visiting attractions and dining in our restaurants,” Hart said.

This is the third budget by Treasurer Peter Gutwein, promising a $77 million surplus, keeping the state net debt-free, The Australian reports.

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Australia’s strongest levels of business confidence combined with the booming tourism industry and international exports, will push Tasmania’s economic growth to 2.5 percent this financial year, slowing to two percent from 2017-18.

The government also announced funding to encourage greater employment of apprentices and trainees in small businesses.

“The budget is back on track and will be back in surplus in 2016-17, three years ahead of schedule,” Gutwein said.

“Because of that, the government is now able to reinvest to improve the services Tasmanians need, while continuing to grow the economy and jobs.”

But the state’s underlying weaknesses remain, The Australian reports, with 47 percent of its $5.5 billion budget devoted to public service salaries, a $6.3 billion unfunded superannuation liability, and a reliance on federal taxpayers for 65 percent of revenue.