With the number of backpacker and youth visitors to Australia in severe decline, the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) welcomes a new Tourism Australia campaign launched by the Minister for Trade, Steve Ciobo in London overnight, aimed at re-engaging this market, including working holiday maker (WHM) visitors from the UK and Ireland.
“We have seen Australia’s international backpacker numbers, particularly visitors from traditionally strong WHM markets like UK and Ireland, experiencing a steady decline over recent years which was accelerated by the Government’s decision to introduce increased taxes on these visitors,” ATEC Managing Director, Peter Shelley said today.
“Thanks to the strong resistance of the tourism industry, the Federal Government recently amended its decision to tax WHM visitors and more pro-actively address the decline in the number of backpacker visitors coming to Australia.
“We are pleased the new campaign, which will highlight the valuable experience gained by a backpacker working holiday in Australia, will re-engage these visitors and build a stronger market into the future.
Mr Shelley said this was the first campaign to directly target the international youth market through specific social media platforms and using high profile personalities who appeal to this particular market.
“Australia has long been a favourite destination of youth travellers and we still have one of the best travel destinations on the planet - evidenced by the strength of our overall international visitor market.
“Youth and backpacker visitors however, are motivated by more than the attractiveness of the destination with considerations such as affordability, work options, visa accessibility and social media cred all important elements of their final destination choice.
“This campaign brings a fresh, modern approach to capturing the contemporary youth market and helps to put Australia’s ‘welcome mat' back.
“While much has been made of the contribution WHM visitors make to regional labour needs, these visitors are primarily here to experience Destination Australia and the wonderful lifestyle, natural beauty and wildlife we have to offer.
“Their contribution goes well beyond providing a valuable labour force and connects to the heart of travel which is expanding cultural understanding, creating new experiences and building new friendships - which is what the WHM visa was set up to achieve.”
Whilst ATEC welcomes this campaign aimed at positioning Australia as a welcoming youth traveller destination, the industry continues urge the Government to reconsider its shock decision to increase the Passenger Movement Charge.