The tourism industry has developed into an important global, national and regional economic force. In 1993 it was estimated that the industry directly and indirectly contributed 10.1 per cent of world Gross Domestic Product and created approximately 204 million jobs, equivalent to one in every nine. The industry is expected to employ 348 million world-wide by 2005 (WTTC, 1993).
In Australia the tourism industry has been one of the •success stories of the 1980's and early 1990's. It is estimated that the industry contributes around 5.6 per cent of national GDP and is responsible for approximately 465,500 jobs, or 6.1 per cent of the national total (BTR, 1994). Inbound tourism to Australia is forecast to grow by an average 10 per cent a year, doubling the number of visitors from just under 3 million in 1993 to over 6 million in the year 2000 (Tourism Forecasting Council, 1995). Domestic tourism is also forecast to grow at an annual rate of approximately 1.9 per cent until the turn of the century (Tourism Forecasting Council, 1994).
This rapid growth brings opportunities and potential dangers for the regions of Australia.
Tourism activity, and the economic benefits and costs that it can bring, is unevenly distributed. Some regions have inherited a competitive advantage, by virtue of their natural assets or history, which has made them the focus of tourist activity. Other regions have failed to maximise the potential of the tourism assets they have. There have been frequent calls for 'managed growth' in order to optimise the benefits of tourism and ensure a sustainable industry for the next century.
Policy design and planning for the tourism industry is frequently an issue for local government and other regional authorities and requires, among other things, accurate and meaningful data on the scale and distribution of the economic benefits that tourism can bring to the region. Input-output methods have been used on many occasions to conduct this type of analysis and to provide data for decision making.
This thesis will use case studies from the Gold Coast region to examine the role of input output methods in regional tourism analysis. The strengths, weaknesses and potential for future development of the techniques in relation to tourism analysis will be considered.