Blue Mountains News

Total Revamp Needed to Secure the Future of Aussie Tourism

Source: University of South Australia
Archived 27 Jul 2020 - Posted: 29 May 2020
A complete reset of Australia’s tourism industry is necessary to ensure its future success, according to global tourism expert, Professor Marianna Sigala at the University of South Australia.

As debates continue about how and when to open Australia’s state and territory borders, Prof Sigala says we must consider what we want Australia’s future tourism industry to look like, with a clear lens on sustainability and well-being.

“There’s no doubt Australia’s tourism sector is suffering – we started the year in recovery following the devastating bushfires and then, before operators were even back on their feet, we were hit with the Covid-19 pandemic, and everything rapidly shut down,” Prof Sigala says.

“Everyone is keen to re-activate our tourism industry, but we must not default to ‘business as usual’. A new restart rather than a recovery to the old normal is more reasonable.

“COVID-19 has led to profound changes on tourists’ behaviour and expectations as well as on industry operations which are predicted to have long-lasting impacts. We need to take advantage of the slow-down to reflect, rethink and plan for improved practices and behaviours.

“This includes revisiting how tourism activities impact communities; respecting nature and surrounds to ensure we’re enhancing and giving back to the areas and assets that draw tourists; and we need to do that with a mindset that shows we are ready for a successful and sustainable future.

“A tourism resetting plan that encompasses responsible tourism, seasonality and climate change, and importantly, practices that benefit all stakeholder – operators, visitors and communities – and their tangible and intangible cultural assets, could position Australia as a world exemplar in re-imagining and leading new tourism management in the post COVID era.”

Environmentally, the pandemic has had a positive impact. In India, Covid-19 has closed factories, to clear once-polluted skies; the Himalayan mountain range is now visible from some cities for the first time in years. In Venice, as canal traffic has come to a standstill, once-murky waters are also clear.

Closer to home, Australia had been making positive steps, even before the onset of Covid-19. In October last year, the iconic Uluru was permanently closed to climbers as a mark of respect to the traditional owners of the land.

Yet with recent calls from Northern Territory business groups to reopen the climb for the sake of tourism, Prof Sigala says we still have a lot to learn.

“While isolation has enabled physical environments a chance to recover from the lack of mass tourism, we must find a balance between caring for tourism assets – and the communities in which they reside –valorising them for supporting tourism activities within and around these locations,” Prof Sigala says.

“When we commoditise and commercialise a cultural asset, we risk transforming it into an attraction driven by visitation defined by economic growth.

“The trade-off between economic and other values is our current mindset, and this needs to shift.”

The World Tourism Organization estimates that international tourist arrivals could drop to 78 per cent, which translates to a drop of up to 1.1 billion international arrivals and a loss of US$ 1.2 trillion (nearly A$1.9 trillion) in export revenues from tourism, representing the largest decline in the history of the industry.

Under these dire conditions, survival of the industry must still include sustainability planning and development.

“Sustainability management should not be viewed as an expense to be managed, but as an investment for the future,” Prof Sigala says.

“Australia must continue to implement activities to keep customers, tourism staff and businesses engaged and ready for when travel restrictions lift.

“We need to communicate to the wider and international community that we are not in hibernation, but rather we are upgrading, innovating and introducing sustainable changes in our tourism offerings and operations that enhance the well-being of tourists and our communities.

“When tourists come back, we should be welcoming them to a better, more ethical and more sustainable tourism industry.”

 
Bindo Creek Cabins Bindo Creek Cabins Bindo Creek Cabins A Holiday with Altitude

Recent News

Blue Mountains Arts Sector Fostered by Multi-Year Funding to Deliver Projects
Blue Mountains Arts Sector Fostered by Multi-Year Funding to Deliver Projects
Minister for the Arts Don Harwin and Member of the Legislative Council...
Have Your Say on Flood Planning Issues - Lithgow Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan Questionnaire
Have Your Say on Flood Planning Issues - Lithgow Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan Questionnaire
Lithgow Council is seeking community feedback to assist in the preparation...
Katoomba Falls Tourist Park Wins International Tourism Award
Katoomba Falls Tourist Park Wins International Tourism Award
Katoomba Falls Tourist Park has been awarded a Travellers’ Choice Awar...
A Water Sensitive City within a World Heritage Area
A Water Sensitive City within a World Heritage Area
This year Blue Mountains City Council is celebrating the 20th Anniversary...
Support for Bushfire-Impacted Small Businesses Extended
Support for Bushfire-Impacted Small Businesses Extended
Support has been extended for bushfire-impacted small businesses acros...

What's New

Websites with Impact and Functionality?
Websites with Impact and Functionality?
Stralia Web Like Fresh Air Daily and the Blue Mountains website? Talk to Stralia Web about your next web development project.
Father's Day Italian Cooking Class
Father's Day Italian Cooking Class
Fifth Ave Katoomba Retreat Spend quality time with your Dad, Grand dad or Uncle at our hands-on Italian cooking classes. Enquire by email to book.
Father's Day-COVID Style -Delivered $99
Father's Day-COVID Style -Delivered $99
Blue Mountains Limousines & Vintage Cadillacs Don't miss Father's Day. Chauffeured delivered goodies from $99. Sorry, Blue Mountains Only - Call Rob on 0400500542
Save $$$s off midweek multi-night stays
Save $$$s off midweek multi-night stays
Valley of the Waters Mon-Thurs Cliff View room $249 per double per night, or The Loft suite $269 including cooked or continental breakfasts
Romantic Escape Blue Mountains
Romantic Escape Blue Mountains
Federation Gardens and Possums Hideaway Three night midweek stay $600 in one of our Possums Cabins for Couples
Also in this Section

Have You Visited

Announcement
The perfect place to relax !Views that will leave you breathless, a place to relax. Melaleuca Mountain Retreat offers the perfect getaway !!View Melaleuca Mountain Retreat »