By Martin Kelly, Editor, Travel Trends

5sunshineSURE it gets stormy but every cloud has a silver lining and sometimes there are just bright sunny days. So why on earth can’t certain tourism industry lobby groups with a big voice acknowledge that occasionally?

Listening to them you’d think there’s no travel success stories, no innovation, no fun or money to be made in travel, no internet, no excitement – just a bunch of broke battlers getting screwed in a hundred different ways. Like farmers.

Just look at some recent quotes/stories from the Tourism and Transport Forum, led by Chris Brown and Olivia Wirth.

On the swine flu: “If it’s anything like the SARS virus there are very, very tough times ahead. Australia’s vulnerable because we’re a long-haul destination and anything that acts as a barrier to people getting on a plane and coming here is going to hurt us.” Courier Mail.

On the Recession: “…up to 29,000 of Australia’s 500,000 tourism jobs could be lost due to the global recession – and remote destinations such as the Territory will be worst hit.” Northern Territory News.

Oh my God, the world is going to end. Again.

The TTF has even been able to find negatives in the stellar performance of the Australian hotel industry over the past few years – rates still too low despite years of increases.

Hard to see the point of these comments – maybe it was subliminal messaging for the government – even in the good times tourism is doing it tough.

But enough with the negativity already – as a lobbying strategy it doesn’t work – never has, never will.

The fact is tourism funding is on a long slow slide in real terms, and there’s no immediate prospect of that trend reversing.

With that in mind, surely the time has come for the tourism lobby groups to take a more positive approach, look for smarter fun ways of getting their message across and be more like the people they represent, perhaps get them involved.

They’ve got nothing to lose with negativity, once again, failing to yield dividends.

Travel Trends: May 21, 2009

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