The carbon tax, planning and zoning for new tourism infrastructure and major events calendar programming are among the key policy issues for tourism businesses in 2012, the latest VTIC Industry Survey reveals.
The survey also shows that the tough conditions experienced by the industry continued through the November quarter of 2011, although there were some glimmers of relief.
The VTIC November Survey asked respondents to indicate which policy areas were of concern to their business or any other ongoing or one-off factors that were impacting on their business. From a given list, the top 10 most frequently nominated topics were:
In all, 24 per cent of respondents to the survey reported a decline in general business conditions during the November quarter, a similar proportion to that reported in the previous quarterly survey.
However, the industry outlook had improved, with almost 40 per cent of respondents expecting stronger business performance over the coming 12 months.
Profitability was the indicator of greatest concern during the quarter, with a net balance of 43 per cent reporting a decline. Employment levels were up (net balance of 4 per cent) compared to the previous quarter and wage pressure appeared to ease slightly. However, non-wage labour costs rose, with a net balance of 47 per cent of respondents indicating an increase in this area, up from 37 per cent in the previous quarter.
Average selling prices again remained constant, whilst investment spending increased slightly with investment in buildings and structures on balance up 9 per cent, a small improvement on the previous quarter.
Those at the coalface of the industry do not need a survey to tell them that times are tough – they are and have been for some time. However, there are subtleties in the results of the August and November quarter surveys that show constraints on businesses are not necessarily what one might think.
There has been much made of the high Australian dollar negatively impacting on exports such as tourism, but in both surveys exchange rate appreciation was rated by most respondents as only a mild constraint at most. Business and consumer confidence, or rather a marked lack thereof, were identified in both quarters as the most significant constraint to business, along with wages costs and insufficient domestic demand.
Click here to read the August and November Quarter 2011 Industry Survey Snapshots.