Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching could cost $1b in lost tourism, research suggests

This is research about what people have been told, not research about the reef or actual tourist numbers.  Far from tourism dying off amid the present state of the reef, we read:

It comes as tourism booms in the region with Cairns leading the growth of hotels in Australia with demand strong and no new major hotel opening in the past two years. Hotel data benchmarking group STR Global has reported city hotel occupancies are up 6.6 per cent and revenues per available room have jumped nearly 14 per cent in the year to April 2016. Sales of hotels in the region have been strong on the back of the rise in tourism with five hotels selling for nearly $150m in the past 18 months

Cairns is of course the main jumping off point for reef tourism.

And why is tourism flourishing there?  Because the situation is not as Greenies describe it.  Tourism operators have no difficulty in taking people to flourishing reefs.  There are some parts of the reef that are temporarily out of action but there are plenty of parts that are fine.  There is nothing to disrupt the tourist experience

If there are problems with the reef they lie in what Greenies say about it.  They do not lie with the reef itself.  It is deceitful Greenies that are the problem

Continued coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef could see international and domestic visitors to the region plummet by more than a million people a year, research by the Australia Institute warns.

The institute surveyed more than 3,000 Chinese, US and UK visitors, as well as 1,400 domestic tourists.

The Great Barrier Reef and the Sydney Harbour Bridge were selected by international respondents as being their top Australian tourist attractions.

But the natural wonder is experiencing its most severe bleaching event on record, with an estimated 22 per cent of its coral, mostly in its northern sections, having died.

One of the survey questions in the Australia Institute research asked respondents: "If the Great Barrier Reef continues to experience severe bleaching and some of the reef dies completely, would you be more likely to choose an alternative holiday destination?"

More than one-third of Americans answered yes, as did 27 per cent of UK tourists and 55 per cent of Chinese.

"Across those three countries there are 175,000 tourists who risk not coming to Australia at all if the reef continues to be bleached," the Australia Institute's executive director Ben Oquist said.

The research states that nearly 900,000 Australian tourists would most likely choose somewhere else to visit if the reef continues to experience bleaching.

"Along with visitor numbers, the potential loss of tourism revenue represents almost one-third of the $3.3 billion spent by holiday visitors to reef regions each year, which supports between 39,000 and 45,000 jobs," the Australia Institute's report states.

"Around 10,000 jobs are at risk from decreased visitation and spending if severe coral bleaching of the reef continues."

"I definitely agree with [the research findings]," said John Rumney, who's been running reef tours off far north Queensland for 40 years.

"As soon as the reef passes that critical point, that tipping point, and we don't have something nice to show people, they'll stop coming."

According to The Guardian, some Cairns operators have reportedly refused to take journalists out on the reef for fear of feeding more negative publicity.

Mr Rumney said it was time his industry openly debated the future of the Great Barrier Reef.

"Everyone in the reef business knows in their hearts that their business is related to a healthy reef. It's just they're afraid to say anything about it because it will be construed as 'oh it's bad now, it's too late'. No, if we don't take any action it will be too late."

The Australia Institute research singles out coal as a leading contributor to climate change, which scientists in turn blame for rising sea temperatures and coral bleaching.

"Four in five people work in service industries, while only 1 per cent work in the coal industry," the report said. "Policies such as a moratorium on new coal mines can be implemented with a minimal effect on the Queensland economy."

Two-thirds of Australian respondents in the survey said there would be a negative impact on the reef if Australia continues to build new coal mines.

"If we're going to save the Barrier Reef and if we're going to address climate change it's clear the world has got to start burning less coal and using less coal and to start that we've got to start approving less mines," Mr Oquist said.


Chinese tourists forecast to spend more than $4.1b in Australia in 2016

Spending by Chinese tourists is forecast to jump to $4.1 billion in Australia this year as a growing middle class and appetite for quality goods and clothes spur spending, according to a report.

The report Golden Dragons: The Spending Habits of Chinese Tourists from Cross Border Management, warned a lack of engagement from Australian retailers during winter months to Chinese tourists may mean a missed revenue opportunity.

"Surveys of Chinese shoppers show they want (language) signs, the company of other Chinese, and someone who can help them while they're shopping," the report said.

"Although the value of Chinese New Year has generally been recognised and Chinese shoppers get swept up in the normal Christmas promotions, little attention has been paid to Chinese tourists visiting during the winter months."

CBM, a firm that specialises in helping Australian companies sell to Chinese customers, said the second-biggest time for Chinese tourists after Chinese New Year are the school holidays that fall in July and August, forecasting $700 million will be spent during the period in Australia this year.

Chinese tourists spent an average of $2,499 per person in Australia in 2015, CBM said.

"The significance of this holiday season is growing as more and more Chinese become affluent enough to travel, and have jobs offering paid vacation time," the report said.

Retail sales in April came in at a relatively weak 0.2 per cent growth, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, as retailers flagged an unseasonably warm winter was impacting sales.

In a report last year, the Tourism Research Australia showed China topped the list of high spenders while on holiday in Australia, followed by South Korea, Japan and Taiwan during 2011 to 2013.

A high spender is defined as having an average spend of $330 per day or spending $4,200 or more for an entire trip.


NSW budget 2016: Healthy surplus and almost no debt, a feat few have achieved

It is a feat few governments, federal or state, have achieved in modern times.  New South Wales is emerging from a boom in rude financial health.

The budget unveiled by NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian shows an economy with a healthy surplus, almost no debt, record infrastructure spending and close to full employment, courtesy of a housing construction boom that has swelled the state's coffers.

It is a performance that stands in stark contrast to that of Western Australia that has exited the greatest resources boom in history with $33 billion in debt, a $3.9 billion deficit and the ignominy of having been stripped of its AAA credit rating.

While NSW Premier Mike Baird will gladly and quite rightly accept the accolades for his economic management, the turnaround in the state's fortunes in the past three years has largely been driven by decisions made just across the road from his office.

When Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens pulled the trigger on interest rate cuts in late 2012, he did so with the deliberate intention of firing up the east coast housing market to spark a construction boom that hopefully would soak up mine workers being laid off in the west. It worked. Aided by the 30 per cent drop in the dollar, NSW was propelled from bottom of the heap to top of the pile.

In the process, already overpriced Sydney real estate surged a further 50 per cent — that helped stamp duty revenues scale Himalayan levels.

In the current financial year, $8.9 billion flooded into the Treasury, almost $1 billion more than anticipated this time last year.

The question is: how long can this continue? The Treasurer claims stamp duty revenue will continue to grow, although at a dramatically slower rate, over the next four years.

That, however, is based on the assumption that "the current dwelling investment cycle is expected to be more prolonged than previous cycles".

Given widespread predictions of a looming glut in apartments in Sydney and other major centres, concerns are building that prices could decline and construction slow dramatically.

GST decline a threat to finances

The Treasurer argues that a forecast decline in GST distributions poses a bigger threat to the state's finances.  "We are the victims of our own success," she said, referring to the formula that dictates financially robust states support those states in difficulty.

Within four years, NSW will be subsidising other states like never before with the apportionment dropping to a record low of 0.81 from around current levels of 0.95.

While GST contributes more than three times as much revenue as the property windfall, stamp duty takings are far more volatile.  And that heightens the risks property poses in maintaining surpluses over the next few years.

Like many Sydneysiders, the State Government has become a captive of the property market. So don't expect any tax reform that would threaten revenue.

Another major factor driving the surpluses has been the State Government's discipline ensuring costs grow slower than revenues.

There's also some sleight of hand in the accounting. Last year, transport "reforms" that effectively removed a huge chunk of costs from the books contributed to a more than doubling in this year's projected surplus. There was no mention of the change this year.


Q&A: Malcolm Turnbull defends 'harsh' asylum seeker policy

Malcolm Turnbull faced questions on issues ranging from same-sex marriage to health funding and returning the budget to surplus during a special Q&A program where he was the sole panel member.

An Iranian man appearing by video from Manus Island questioned Malcolm Turnbull about why he could not come to Australia.

Mr Turnbull would not comment on the man's individual circumstances but said he did not have a heart of stone.

"It is a tough policy, I grant you that, it is a harsh policy," Mr Turnbull said. "But in government and in politics, often you are presented with tough choices and the alternative is not a theoretical one.

"It's what Kevin Rudd delivered, regrettably — 50,000 unauthorised arrivals, 1,200 deaths at sea of which we know, doubtless there were more."


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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