Tourism studies undervalued in Victoria

Amy Robertson, Monash Journalism

Tourism is a major part of the Australian economy but TAFE cuts to tourism courses and reduced training puts Victoria’s tourism at risk.

TOURISM makes up a significant part of the service sector for the Australian economy but the $290 million Victorian TAFE funding cuts last year could have an impact on regional tourism in Victoria.

There are fears that the industry will suffer due to the closing of tourism and hospitality courses at universities across Melbourne, including Victoria University and Swinburne University of Technology in Lilydale.

Swinburne's Lilydale campus has been closed. Photo: Amy Robertson

Swinburne’s Lilydale campus has been closed. Photo: Amy Robertson

Monash University senior lecturer in tourism Dr Vicki Peel says tourism is being downgraded which is worrying because of how significant tourism is in terms of economy building.

“Together with education tourism is a hugely significant service sector for the economy,” Dr Peel said.

“A lot of universities established masters of tourism for example and many of those have fallen by the way and undergraduate programs have dispersed because of the high Australian dollar.”

Managing director of the Australian Tourism and Export Council Matt Hingerty says the tourism industry is undervalued in Australia.

“It is by far the largest service export earner for Australia. It earns more than all the agricultural produce where export combined. Not many people know that it’s a massive sector of our economy but is not always appreciated as such,” Mr Hingerty said.

Swinburne University of Technology in Lilydale closed in June 2013 axing many TAFE courses.

More than 900 students were enrolled in TAFE at the campus in 2012 many of which were studying hospitality and tourism.

“Certainly we see it in the way tourism as an area of study for students has fallen away. Tourism has sort of lost that drive that it had,” Dr Peel said.

Enrollments in Swinburne across campuses. Graph: Amy Robertson

TAFE enrollments in Swinburne campuses. Graph: Amy Robertson

Victorian tourist hot spots. Graph: Amy Robertson

Victorian tourist hot spots. Graph: Amy Robertson

Tourist hotspots in Victoria:

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