Jul 2, 2014

Abbott breaks promise to tourism sector

Tony Abbott has broken his election promise to transfer Australia’s national tourism quality assurance scheme to industry, axing it instead.

Before the election Tony Abbott said:

The Coalition will ensure the Tourism Quality Council of Australia and the T-QUAL Accreditation scheme return to industry.

Coalition Policy on Tourism, 5 September 2013.

The policy also promised $600,000 funding for the transfer of the scheme following a competitive tender process.

But at 4pm on Monday tourism operators received an email from Austrade advising that the scheme would cease to operate at 5pm that day.

The email also instructed businesses to withdraw all marketing and promotional materials bearing the T-QUAL symbol.

Ecotourism Australia has called the direction “completely unreasonable’’ for tour operators, especially during the busy school holiday period. http://www.ecotourism.org.au/news/

The National Tourism Alliance, the only respondent in the tender process, has asked Austrade for an opportunity to rework the proposal with no response.

Tony Abbott’s mishandling of Australia’s $107 billion tourism sector has reached a new low.

It is clear his real policy for tourism is to vacate the space entirely and withdraw support for the sector wherever he can.

The decision to axe the T-QUAL scheme with no notice deliberately undermines tourism operators, many of them small businesses, and will damage Australia’s reputation overseas.

Labor supports the T-QUAL tick as a national symbol of tourism quality, which showcases Australia’s high quality tourism products to visitors from around the world. http://www.australia.com/TQUAL.aspx