The mutual owns Thrifty Car Rentals, Manly Fast Ferries, Travelodge, Hotel Kurrajong and over 40 Holiday Parks across six states. NRMA has also committed $10 million to an electric vehicle charging network to help the next generation of travellers explore regional Australia.
The organisation has made a strategic pillar to grow its services to Members in transport and tourism and has focused on championing the benefits of regional tourism as a way to encourage Australians to holiday locally and also to boost regional economies.
Tourism has been identified as one of the five super growth industries, with the sector employing more than half-a-million people. That’s more than agriculture, mining and finance sectors.
In 2009, an aspirational growth target of growing overnight visitor expenditure to $140 billion by 2020 was set. With three years left to reach the target, the NRMA has implored policy makers to consider if enough has been done to drive tourism.
NRMA CEO, Rohan Lund said the company saw great investment potential in the tourism industry
“The NRMA has a long and proud history in tourism and this role will only expand in the future. We see the sector as a strategic priority for the organisation and will use our balance sheet and voice to champion the economic and social benefits that domestic tourism offers the economy,” Mr Lund said.
“The potential for growth in tourism – and the economic benefits to the nation – are substantial. This report outlines what is needed from Government and industry in order to achieve that growth.”
“The challenges facing the sector today stem from Australians preferring to travel overseas and also cost of living pressures forcing many families to cut back on holidays and leisure spending.
“It is well within the nation’s capacity to tackle these challenges if industry and government work together. We need to be proactive and plan now.
“Regional tourism is at the heart of our business, particularly our holiday parks. We do well when regional Australia thrives. Regional Australia needs to be top of mind when planning the country’s next tourism strategy and targets.”
The NRMA has listed five priority areas to grow the visitor economy:
- What gets measured gets done: Establish a Tourism 2030 Industry Potential Target, set regional growth targets and re-establish visitor economy taskforces.
- Inspire Journeys: Support new ways to bring nature-based tourism to market, reform regional tourism grants, develop state based cruise strategies and establish a target to grow regional events.
- Aid Discovery: Develop tourism and transport strategies in each state, transition signage to one consistent colour, develop investment strategy for digital wayfinding and progress a national program to improve rest stops.
- Create meaningful engagement: Encourage vocational training in tourism, review recent changes to skilled migration visas and expand empowerment programs to support regional tourism.
- Live like a local: Encourage technology-based programs that link visitors with local communities and support indigenous employment and business mentoring.
While International visitors spend 12 times more than the average Australian, domestic tourism is still the nation’s major breadwinner. In 2016-17, tourism expenditure in local communities totalled $110 billion, with 75 per cent generated by Australians travelling domestically.
Domestic travellers make the biggest contribution to regional tourism spending $47 billion – representing 89 per cent of visitor expenditure in regional Australia.
Driving, caravanning and camping holidays have remained popular, with self-drive holidays representing 86 per cent of all domestic trips.