Australians view tourism as a double-edged sword

A new survey conducted by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Ipsos reveals that tourism is seen as a double-edged sword. For example, 52% globally (72% in Australia) think tourism generates wealth and income, while 46% (52% in Australia) believe it creates overcrowding.

Australians view tourism as a double-edged sword

The research was carried out in 15 countries and looks at perceptions of residents towards city tourism, its impacts and the most adequate strategies to manage growing tourism flows. It was conducted online among adults aged under 65 in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Poland, South Africa, the Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America and revealed a variety of attitudes and perceptions across the globe in relation to tourism.

Positive Impacts of Tourism

  • Seven in ten (72%) Australian respondents believe tourism has a high or moderate impact in creating wealth and income in their city. This makes us the most likely country to see this benefit.  On average, just over half (52%) of people across 15 countries believe tourism generates wealth and income.
  • Six in ten (61%) Australian respondents believe tourism creates new offers and leisure activities, whereas on average, half (50%) the respondents across 15 countries believe tourism creates new offers and leisure activities.  Australia ranked third behind Sweden (74%) and Argentina (63%) in regard to this tourism benefit.
  • Six in ten Australians also believe tourism creates more jobs in their city (59%) and that it creates intercultural exchanges (58%), while globally the average was 48% and 51% respectively. We are the 2nd most likely to believe tourism creates jobs but only the 5th most likely to believe in the creation of intercultural exchanges.

Negative Impacts of Tourism

  • Over half (56%) Australian respondents believe tourism increases the cost of goods and services in their city while globally the average was 45%.  Australians were the second most likely to view this as a negative impact of tourism.  
  • Half (51%) Australian respondents believe tourism creates overcrowding while globally the average was 46%.  We were the fourth most likely to view this as a negative impact of tourism. 
  • Half (51%) Australian respondents also believe tourism increases the cost of housing in their city while globally the average was 45%.  Australians were the third most likely to view this as a negative impact of tourism. 
  • Four in ten (42%) Australian respondents believe tourism increases the cost of transport in their city while globally the average was 36%.  Australians were also the second most likely to view this as a negative impact of tourism. 

Better Management of Tourism

  • Given that results show we are strong on both the positives and negatives of tourism it was not that surprising that we are split on whether there should be measures to better manage tourism.  In line with the global average (47%), 49% of Australian respondents felt there should be measures to better manage tourism, while 51% felt there did not need to be measures in place.
  • Among those who believe there should be measures to better manage tourism the measures most supported were:
  • Ensure local communities benefit from tourism (78% vs 65% globally);
  • Improve infrastructure and facilities (76% vs 72% globally);
  • Create experiences and attractions that benefit residents as well as visitors (70% vs 71% globally).
  • Only 17% of Australian respondents think the number of tourists should be limited against 12% at global level.

Tourism_Australia_Ipsos

Commenting on the findings, David Elliott, Director, Ipsos Social Research Institute, said: “The Australian findings from this joint World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Ipsos study show that we are very much aware of the benefits of tourism compared to other counties. 

“Much higher proportions of Aussies recognise the benefits of tourism. This may simply be a reflection that, in Australia, tourism has an important impact across the country not just in the capital cities or the blue-ribbon tourist locations.  More of us, no matter where we live, see a benefit to our local tourism industry, rather than perhaps the national benefit of tourism to Australia overall or just a benefit to the small proportion living in the tourist hotspots.

“We were also one of the countries most likely to see the negatives of tourism. It might be argued that we aren’t overly concerned with these because when we asked what measures are needed to deal with increased tourism the clear theme in the responses was that we want to ensure tourism is good for both our visitors and the local community,” he said.