Australia: Tourism Economy and the Effects of Natural Disasters

September 28, 2011
By

In my recent search about Australia and the Pacific Islands, I have come to realize what an impact the disasters can have on their economies, especially the tourism sector. This week, I am particularly focusing on natural disasters’ impacts on Australia. Australia has suffered a lot in the past year. There was a huge cyclone in Queensland in February, as well as unusually great floods. Later that month, Australia experienced a massive bushfire that ravaged the dry land. The bush fire destroyed countless homes, schools, and businesses, killing the livelihoods of many. With an economy so deeply rooted and dependent on tourism, disasters such as these were hard to recuperate from. The volcano ash that traveled from Chile and settled over Perth and Western Australia in June was no help to the economy, either. For days, airlines were unable to fly planes in or out because of the severity of the ash cloud. Tourism rates have dropped in the past few years because of the general fear of disaster. Rates in New Zealand have dropped 9% in the last year and Australia’s rates have dropped over 10%. I believe the effects of disasters are not only physical; they fiscally impact the country, as well. In recent years, Australia’s total economic value of domestic tourism has measured up to $63.3 billion. With such an apparent wealth in tourism, there is much concern for how to become and remain sustainable, despite the unfortunate effects of various disasters. The Australian government has been very concerned with preserving and protecting the natural environment and resources, considering how important they are to the country’s ability to thrive. The Department of Resources, Energy, and Tourism presents their mission statement as: “The Australian Government is committed to maximising tourism’s net economic contribution to the Australian economy and to fostering an industry that promotes the principles of environmental responsibility and sustainable development.” There is an apparent effort to keep Australia’s economy and environment alive and working together.

http://www.tourism.australia.com/en-au/markets/australia.aspx

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23921007-bushfires-add-to-australias-disaster-misery.do

http://www.goldcoast.com.au/article/2011/09/07/347421_tourism-news.html

http://www.ret.gov.au/tourism/nltts/Pages/default.aspx

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  4. Thomas Steen on December 5, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Personally, I can relate to this, albeit in a limited aspect considering the magnitude of the natural disasters that Australia faces each and every year. Coming from New Orleans, I grew up having to deal with hurricanes; and in 2005, the city’s worst fears were realized when Hurricane Katrina struck. Natural disasters are absolutely devastating to the economy, and in Australia’s case, it’s even more devastating because it affects tourism as well, making the economy suffer even more. I really enjoyed reading this post, and I had no idea that Australia faced such horrible natural disasters.

  5. Amy Syvrud on October 12, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    I had no idea that Australia’s economy relied so heavily on tourism. It is shocking to me that Australia’s rates fell by 10% due to fear of disaster. It is quite unfortunate that a country can be so drastically impacted by a force that it has absolutely no control over. Before reading your article, I was not aware of the extent of Australia’s vulnerability economically and physically to natural disasters. This is an interesting topic and something that I think more people should pay more attention to.

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