Latest News

Share this article

International travel & inbound tourism score wins in Federal Budget… here’s where

The Federal Budget last night delivered a few wins for the Australian travel industry, both for international travel and inbound tourism.

The Federal Budget last night delivered a few wins for the Australian travel industry, both for international travel and inbound tourism.

The big news for international travel is the announcement of a new fee that gives travellers access to fast-tracked passport applications from 1 July 2024. 

Unfortunately, on the same day, the cost of obtaining an Australian passport will also rise 15 per cent, making the world’s most expensive passport (among OECD nations) even pricier. But at least those willing to fork out an additional $100 will be able to skip the queue and have their passport processed within five business days.

According to the ABC, the Government expects to make around $27.4 million over five years from the new fees.

Australian passport
international travel
The new passport initiative should aid international travel.

The Australian Travel Industry Association (ATIA) has welcomed the expedited passport option, saying the initiative will help streamline international travel. 

“We are thrilled by the Government’s decision to fast-track passport processing. This reflects our close relationship and ongoing work with the Australian Passport Office and Government,” ATIA CEO Dean Long said.

“Starting in July, passports can be processed within five business days for an additional fee of $100. This offers a great option for travellers seeking more certainty in receiving their passports, without needing the two-day expedited service, which will soon cost nearly $300.”

“It’s also an opportunity to share with clients that, on 1 July, passport fees have an additional 15 per cent increase, so anyone who is looking to renew this year should do so before then.”

ATIA CEO Dean Long
ATIA CEO Dean Long says the Budget delivered a win for international travel.

Long also flagged the support measures for small businesses delivered in last night’s Budget.

“Eligible small businesses will benefit from a $325 reduction in their electricity bills over the year,” he stated. 

“The $20,000 instant asset write-off has been extended, and additional funding has been allocated to programs providing free financial and well-being support for small business owners.”

There is also good news for skills and training, with the Government “partially reversed previously announced cuts to traineeship incentives”. 

“This reversal applies to occupations on the priority list, so retaining travel consultants on this list is a significant victory for our industry,” Long added.

Tourism takeaways 

ATEC's Peter Shelley
ATEC’s Peter Shelley

Away from international travel, the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) has welcomed the Budget’s measures to help the Aussie tourism industry – especially with the potentially lucrative Chinese market through reinstated funding for the Approved Destination Status (ADS) scheme.  

A champion of the scheme, ATEC says this initiative is key to rebuilding the Chinese visitor market, which in 2019 was worth more than $3.3 billion, as more than 670,000 Chinese holidaymakers hit Aussie shores.

“ATEC has been advocating for the reinstatement and refresh of this important program since the re-establishment of visitors from China last year and we are pleased to see this funding back in the Budget,” ATEC Managing Director Peter Shelley said.

“We see an opportunity for the China ADS program to be modernised to strengthen service delivery and to focus on consumer-driven, quality group tour offerings.” 

Chinese tourists
International travel and inbound tourism received a boost in the Budget.

The Budget has allocated $8.1 million over 4 years to rebuild the China ADS scheme, which was paused during the pandemic. 

Elsewhere, ATEC praised the decision to retain Tourism Australia’s funding. The organisation will receive $170.4 million for 2024-25.

“ATEC welcomes the Government’s commitment to supporting existing funding levels for Tourism Australia and its investment in promoting Australia,” Shelley remarked. 

“Moving forward we will look for increased funding to ensure Australia remains competitive in the global tourism marketplace.” 

Funding will also continue for tourism operators monitoring and protecting the Great Barrier Reef.