Antisthenes the Younger
One can guess that tourism, in particular the Central Australian one, is struggling from little indications here or there, and, of course, from the fact that the Australian tourism industry is not yet in Chinese hands. When the profits get down so that only Asian operators and Asian labour force would be able to survive, then the unappetising remnants of a ‘shrimp on-the-rusty-barbie’ will be snapped up for a pittance. At this stage, Chinese politburo apparently sees no need to expand into and take over that additional area of their colony’s economy, doing very well elsewhere, especially in mining and agriculture. The manufacture they eliminated a long time ago.
Depending on whom you talk to, the reasons for the tourism decline vary from the Global Economic Disaster, Labor mismanagement of everything, Eurozone plight and US presidential elections. Among more specific reasons could be the general unwillingness or institutional inability of Australians to serve. When in “touristy” areas of Australia you get a service with a smile, you can be assured that it is almost certainly from a Scandinavian waitress or a Vietnamese shopkeeper. If any industry ever was a service industry, it would be tourism, but somehow here in Aussieland the staff feels the same sense of entitlement that our public ‘servants’ have – you are here for me, not I for you. I am entitled to a good living and do not expect anything but absolute minimum from me. As public servants ought to bow to a long-suffering Australian taxpayer, whose placidity provides them minimal work and lots of play, so ought to the tourism operators and their employees. We know that it doesn’t happen that way. People, who would be otherwise unemployable, treat the taxpayers who support them and visitors who pay them with contempt.
Further, the big business is so thoroughly infected with the public service mentality, that it behaves like a typical socialist untouchable bureaucracy. For example, the formerly good airline Qantas with its Alice Springs monopoly – from Alice Springs News:
… the elephant in that room is cost: our northern neighbours have modern, efficient and safe airlines that are much, much cheaper. Here are a few random calculations, based on the cost per seat and per kilometer.
Darwin to Beijing return 8.2c/km
Perth to Bali return 3.9c/km
Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo one way 2.4c/km
Beijing to Kuala Lumpur return 4.6c/km
Alice Springs to Sydney one way 18.4c/km
Sydney to Alice Springs one way 13.6c/km
AIR ASIA specials
Kuala Lumpur to Penang $10
Kuala Lumpur to Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) $47
The figures speak for themselves. Naturaly, if you need to change your flight, and even if you give Qantas more than sufficient notice, you are hit with exorbitant fees. At the height of this winter season, Qantas halved the direct flights from Perth to Ayers Rock and announced it would abolish them altogether from October. It is not the kangaroo on that tail which is jumping; it is you, the customer.
The governments, State and Federal, kill whatever occasionally raises a promising head with regulations, safety standards and more regulation. So what is a solution? A commission of inquiry? More commissions? More money to advertising agencies with their feeble minded ads? “There’s nothing like Australia?” Our hotels a spitting image of those everywhere else?