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Government Releases Tourism White Paper

The Federal Government has released a White Paper on Tourism and announced funding measures worth $235 million over the next four and a half years to boost tourism.

The full text of the White Paper appears at the bottom of this page.

Text of a government statement, outlining the major policy initiatives in the Tourism White Paper.

Structural reform

  • the Australian Government will establish a new body, Tourism Australia, encompassing the functions of the Australian Tourist Commission, See Australia, the Bureau of Tourism Research and the Tourism Forecasting Council
  • Tourism Australia will include two business units – Tourism Research Australia and Tourism Events Australia.

International marketing

  • the Australian Government will increase Tourism Australia’s base level funding to boost its capacity to market internationally
  • Tourism Australia will work closely with other government agencies to develop a revitalised Brand Australia, and leverage promotion of Australia through strategic partnerships with state and territory marketing bodies
  • the Australian Government will support the development of an International Tourism Ambassador Program.

Domestic marketing

  • See Australia will become an integral part of Tourism Australia, with increased funding to provide a greater capacity to promote generic domestic tourism
  • the Australian Government will expand See Australia’s role to support regional tourism development through research into high yield markets and guiding development of tourism product.

Research and statistics

  • Tourism Research Australia will provide an enhanced research and statistics base, which will cater better for the needs of industry and government
  • Tourism Research Australia will establish a Tourism Statistics Regional Advisory Service, and the Australian Government will work with state and territory governments to ensure better access to research for tourism businesses, particularly in regional areas
  • See Australia will provide market research to better identify new and high yield markets and guide development of tourism product in regional areas
  • the Australian Government will pursue opportunities to better focus research effort to more effectively meet the needs of the tourism industry, including through the Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • the Australian Government will provide incentives for collaboration to develop effective research-based strategies for tourism market development in regional Australia.

Events and niche markets

  • Tourism Events Australia will brand and promote Australiaas a Platinum Plus business and events destination, and will seek to develop partnerships with Asia–Pacific regional tourism agencies
  • Tourism Events Australia will work with industry, regions and states to develop a National Events Calender, and establish a national web-based register of events for communities and consumers
  • Tourism Australia will work with industry, states and territories to identify and develop strategic market development plans focused on high yield niche markets.

Structural initiatives

  • the Australian Government will support the development of a national, voluntary tourism accreditation system through the National Accreditation Working Group
  • tourism development across Australia will be supported through the new Australian Tourism Development Program, which will enhance visitor dispersal to regional and lesser-visited metropolitan destinations
  • the Australian Government will consult with stakeholders, including relevant regional communities, in the development of the regional tourism effort
  • the Australian Government is establishing a National Centre for Language Training which will assist tourism operators with the skills required for enhancing the tourism experience for international visitors.
  • the new Indigenous Tourism Business Ready Program will build Indigenous tourism capacity, and the Australian Government will continue to support the work of the Indigenous Tourism Leadership Group
  • strategic partnerships and a greater role of Indigenous communities in the development of Indigenous tourism products will be encouraged
  • the Australian Government will encourage partnerships between Park agencies and the tourism industry through the Protected Areas initiative, and work with states and territories to identify barriers to private sector involvement and investment in protected areas
  • the Tourism Ministers’ Council and the Environment and Heritage Ministerial Council will work together to encourage partnerships to improve the sustainable use of natural and cultural heritage
  • the Australian Government will fund Australia’s membership of the World Tourism Organization as part of lifting Australia’s profile
  • the Australian Government will explore opportunities to ensure greater take-up of Australian Workplace Agreements and certified agreements.

Improving infrastructure

  • the Australian Government will upgrade efforts in meeting passenger safety and security requirements, and work towards more streamlined, efficient processing of international visitors, including the adoption of new technologies
  • nationally consistent tourism signage will be pursued through the National Tourism Signing Reference Group
  • the proposed outsourcing of the Tourist Refund Scheme will be considered by the Australian Government
  • expanded benefits available for tourists under a revised duty free allowances regime
    the impact of taxes and charges on the tourism sector will continue to be monitored, and the
  • Australian Government will undertake a review of the Passenger Movement Charge
  • a Ministerial collaboration mechanism and enhanced stakeholder consultative arrangements will be established to encourage closer collaboration between the tourism and aviation sectors, and the Government
  • the Australian Government will review and update the Action Plan for the development of the Australian/Pacific cruise industry.


  • the Australian Government will develop a new Intergovernmental Agreement that will set out updated roles and responsibilities of different levels of government and foster effective intergovernmental cooperation
  • the Australian Government will enhance stakeholder relationships through establishment of an Industry Implementation Advisory Group, an annual tourism industry–government forum, and a White Paper communications strategy.

Text of media release from the Prime Minister, John Howard.


I am pleased to be launching today the Australian Government’s Tourism White Paper: A Medium to Long Term Strategy for Tourism.

The strategy will be supported by a major new investment in tourism, which I am pleased to announce involves additional funding worth a total of $235 million over four and a half years.

The Government is also announcing a restructuring of key tourism bodies.

One of the objectives of the plan is to work closely with industry to further develop international markets now and into the future.

As a nation we have shown the world that we are a sophisticated, friendly and open country in the magnificent way we have hosted both the 2003 Rugby World Cup and the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Our aim is to build on both the achievements of these events, and on the strengths of the industry throughout the country.

Importantly it is also a plan that recognises the tremendous importance of tourism to regional towns and districts right across Australia, and it seeks to continue to increase the opportunities and extend the economic benefits in regional communities.

The key funding measures to support the implementation of the White Paper include:

  • additional funding for international marketing totalling $120.6 million over four and a half years;
  • an increase of $45.5 million in funding for domestic tourism marketing, including marketing under the See Australia flagship;
  • an additional $19 million over four years for the Tourism Development Programme with a focus on regional Australia; and
  • extending the provision of quality research and statistics by providing an additional $21.5 million for this purpose.

The funding boost for international marketing takes the Australian Government’s total budget for this programme to over $500 million for the next four and a half years.

Importantly, the funding measures are to be implemented in conjunction with a strategic restructuring of tourism bodies.

A new central body to be called Tourism Australia will be formed by bringing together the Australian Tourist Commission, the Tourism Forecasting Council, the Bureau of Tourism Research and See Australia.

In addition, a new unit within Tourism Australia is to be established and called Tourism Events Australia. It will focus on promoting Australia as a high quality business and events destination.

Over recent decades Australian tourism has achieved remarkable growth and now makes a tremendous contribution to our economy.

The vast majority of tourism businesses are small or medium in size, and together they make an immense contribution to our economy.

The industry employs more than 550,000 Australians, and generates $17 billion per year in export earnings.

In addition to this, domestic tourism is currently worth over $52 billion a year, with more than half of this expenditure occurring in regional and rural Australia.

Over recent years tourism and tourism related businesses have endured the adverse impacts of a series of international events, including terrorist attacks, the collapse of Ansett and SARS.

Despite these challenges it remains a self reliant and outward looking industry. A further aim of the White Paper is to reinforce the industry’s self reliance so that any international shocks in the future can be better managed from within.

I would like to thank everyone from the tourism industry who contributed to the consultation process on the White Paper. The constructive and cooperative nature of the process was appreciated by the Government.

The Government is willing to work in partnership with the industry to implement the Tourism White Paper which is aimed at ensuring that as a nation we achieve renewed growth and further development in tourism, and reap the economic and social benefits afforded by this vital industry.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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