Published on : Friday, January 20, 2017
Gladys Berejiklian will replace Mike Baird as the premier of New South Wales. While she is tight-lipped about her agenda yet, it was suggested by an expert that improving the city for tourists should be among the top priorities for the new leader. David Beirman, a senior lecturer in tourism at the University of Technology Sydney, said that the growth of Australian tourism, particularly Sydney in the past year meant that more needs to be done to support the tourism industry. To quote Beirman, “When we’re doing such a great job in tourism to attract people, we need to make sure we have the infrastructure to cater for them. That growth has been phenomenal.”
According to Tourism Australia, there were 8.2 million visitors last year — an 11.4% increase from 2015. The main supply of tourists came from north-east and south-east Asia, with 1.2 million visitors from China, as well as New Zealand, Japan, Korea, India and the United States. As of September 2016, there were 29.1 million visitors to NSW alone, bringing in $16.5 billion in tourism revenue. Increase in domestic tourism was partly due to travelers cancelling overseas travel for domestic holidays.
Mr. Beirman also stressed the importance of a high-speed rail link between Brisbane and Melbourne via Sydney on a joint decision by the state, federal and local governments. He said that a train would lessen stress on the major airports and increase domestic travel for Australians as well as international tourists. Mr. Beirman said that there is shortage of accommodation for business tourists in NSW.
He said the “astronomical prices” of top-ranked hotels in the city was “a big problem”, and that more four and five-star hotels needed to be built. The cruise industry in Sydney also needs to be handled with care. Mr Beirman said there were thousands of jobs in the tourism industry that needed to be filled, and many tourism jobs were currently being filled by foreign workers on 457 or holiday visas.