FIFO miners a big challenge for tourism

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The mining boom and rapidly expanding fly-in-fly-out workforce is providing both opportunities and challenges for Australia’s tourism industry, according to a new industry snapshot.

A report by Tourism Research Australia said while some industries within tourism were benefitting from the resources boom, other leisure activities are being “crowded out” by mining workers.

Tourism Council of WA CEO Evan Hall told WAtoday while sectors of the industry connected with FIFO were doing well those associated with leisure tourists had suffered.

He said the mining industry had put upwards pressure on accommodation and flight prices for business at the expense of other operators.

He said Broome, one of WA’s prime tourist destinations and also home to the James Price Point gas developments, was a good example of how the resources boom could challenge the tourism industry.

Hall said if the JPP developments went ahead the influx of FIFO workers would stretch Broome’s tourism industry.

“Aviation and accommodation in the town of Broome will benefit, but it’s probably the worst possible news if you’re doing the camel tour along Cable Beach,” he said.

The Tourism Research Australia report said while transport and accommodation services associated with mining were the big winners, the industry in general was struggling to compete with mining to attract workers
Minister for resources, energy, and tourism Martin Ferguson said in a statement the report showed Australia’s resources industry was benefitting tourism.

“There is no doubt that many leisure-tourism businesses are struggling from the effects of a strong Australian dollar and staff shortages, especially in mining regions,” he said.

“[But] by catering for business travellers, fly-in fly-out workers and the growing number of visitors from China and other emerging markets, some Australian tourism businesses are thriving.”

Phase two of the report’s research into mining’s impact on tourism will be released in early 2012.

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