The $Value$ of a Land Worth Visiting

Some of those who are so greatly concerned about Australia’s economy have a major flaw in their thinking when it comes to their plans to exploit the northwest for her natural resources. The vehemently pro-industry lobby should consider the value in today’s — and future — dollars that those same natural areas can provide alternative sectors. The following comes from Phil Ruthven’s article “The Grass is Greener” in Qantas’ February, 2009 in-flight magazine. “As we begin to remedy centuries of environmental abuse, Australia has a great opportunity to project itself as a clean, safe and interesting country – a destination of choice for international tourists, who in 2008 numbered 940 million globally and spent some $1.2 trillion on travel and transport. …Tourism Australia has forecast that inbound tourism could be worth $107b in real terms by 2017, of the same order of magnitude as today’s mining exports (about $130b). Already, our 2008 tourism takings of $34b is bigger than our rural exports (including processed foods) of $27b and may eventually be larger than all manufacturing or mining exports. “It is not inconceivable that we will one day earn more money from people visiting and travelling across our continent than by digging it up or sowing seeds in it. Essential to this is that we project, along with an enviable range of destinations, a clean, green and responsible image. …Whether Australia goes nuclear, waits for scientists to develop fusion energy, sequesters carbon dioxide from coal-fired power stations in deep rock formations, builds windmills, harvests energy from deep hot rocks, or utilises solar heating banks – a greener nation can only benefit the country’s citizens and attract visitors, settlers, income and wealth.” Source: “The Australian Way” (Qantas In-flight magazine), February 2009