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Tourism Development in Australia

Introduction
The tourism industry is exceptionally complex and is constantly growing in size and competitiveness. Tourism plays a key role in our export industry accounting for 10% of the total export earnings, making it Australia’s largest service export industry. These contributions to Australia’s Gross Domestic Profit (GDP) have grown significantly from $25.2 billion in 2002 to $34 billion in 2011 (Kumar Narayan, 2006; Department of Resources Energy and Tourism, 2011). The emergence of this rapidly growing industry has the ability to impact economic, social and environmental aspects of a destination significantly, making the tourism sector a vital industry for not only the Australian economy but for all future development of Australia. The National Tourism Organisation (NTO) that represents Australia is Tourism Australia. This is a government agency that is responsible for increasing the amount of international visitors to Australia as well as encouraging Australians to take part in domestic travel. Its mission is “…to increase the economic benefits to Australia of tourism” (Tourism Australia, 2012). To do so, Tourism Australia has implemented a range of strategies, the most recent being Tourism 2020 which aims to achieve growth in the expenditure that overnight tourism brings to the destination (Tourism Australia, 2012). Through the marketing efforts of Tourism Australia along with the Australian Tourism Commission since 1967, Australia has been established as a tourist destination and its brand is now a successful and enviable destination brand. Australia’s Competitiveness

The tourism industry is an extremely competitive one as the environment is constantly developing. There are five main areas that can facilitate a destination to achieve a competitive advantage (Wang, 2012). The true ability of a tourist destination to compete comes from the possession of certain political, economic, socio-cultural, technological and environmental strengths (Ritchie et al., 2003). It must be noted that having competitive advantage is unlike having a comparative advantage. A comparative advantage is where a destination simply has manmade, natural, capital, human or other resources available. Competitive advantage is the “ability of the destination to use or mobilize these resources over the long term” (Wang, 2012). This skill is vital because simply having the resources is not enough to take full advantage of the opportunity to attract visitation and improve competitiveness. Australia is rich in resources, natural as well as manmade, that are unique from other destination offerings. Australia has almost, but not quite, reached a truly competitive edge against other destination as all five aspects have been met to a certain degree. For example: * Australia is politically strong and stable which creates positive feelings about the destination * Economic competitiveness is achieved through the possession of appropriate infrastructure, supporting industries and conditions * Social and cultural characteristics are appealing to tourists * The technological advancement with the introduction of the new National Broadband Network will create multiple new business opportunities * Lastly, Australia has superior environmental and natural capital, which creates environmental competitiveness. It must be highlighted that Australia is behind its leading competitors in the technological aspect as this broadband network is very recent and many areas do not and will not have coverage for many years still (NBN CO, 2012). With the hope of a true competitive advantage this aspect needs to be improved. The Australian tourism industry is also faced with the challenge of the high Australia dollar, which hinders the full potential of international visitation as well as domestic tourism because Australians find it cheaper to go to an overseas holiday destination. Unfortunately, this is a burden that the...
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