Time to ramp up the visitors

I was reading in Travel Daily News that 370 million people visited Europe in 2008.  According to the European Commission Europe attracts 40% of the world’s travelling population, and tourism accounts for 5.2% of employment in Europe and generates 5% of GDP.  That’s a lot of people visiting one continent. Okay, they have a few things in Europe that we don’t have – the Eiffel Tower, the Sistine Chapel, Venice, Buckingham Palace, the Rhine River, and Bognor Regis – but they also have atrocious weather, over priced hotels, and crowds.

By contrast, Australia received about 5.7 million visitors (two thirds less than the Eiffel Tower!), 1.1 million of which were New Zealanders!  New Zealand has a population of 4,268,900 – so about one quarter of the New Zealand population visit Australia each year.

Goody! I love New Zealanders. I used to live there; it’s a very attractive place.  The only country in the world where they speak English without the use of vowels. If it wasn’t for New Zealand, Australia wouldn’t have a music industry.

My only problem with kiwis is that their economy is shot, so although they come here in droves, they don’t contribute much to our economy.  They ain’t generating 5% of GDP in Australia.  What Australia is doing wrong is we aren’t targeting the rich countries.

Apparently, Luxembourg is the richest country in the world because the average income of its people is the equivalent of USD80, 800 per annum.  That’s not a bad annual income – we should be targeting the Luxembourgers to convince them to come and visit Australia to spend their hard-earned Euros.  They only have a population of 500,000 or so, but if we could get a quarter of them to come to Australia, that would be good for our economy.  Apparently, the main industry in Luxembourg is merchant banking, so they must be a very exciting people.  We could encourage them to come here to take them on a tour of our banks to give them ideas for charging outrageous and unfair fees. Not only would they get a holiday, but they’d get a lesson in cheating as well.

What the heck!  Luxembourg is tiny, only 50kms x 30kms.  We could give them double that somewhere out beyond Leonora, and no one would ever notice.  They could all come here and bring their wealth with them.  At least they’d enjoy a lot more sunshine than they do in Luxembourg and they wouldn’t have to put up with those pesky Belgian, French and German neighbours like they do in Europe.

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