Speaking at the Destination Australia 2021 Conference in Sydney yesterday, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan addressed a 500 plus strong travel industry audience and covered a range of highly pertinent topics.
The Destination Australia 2021 ‘Future Of Australian Tourism’ conference was held on Thursday, March 4 at the ICC Sydney and brought together over 500 travel (mainly inbound) suppliers and local tourism organisations along with numerous others who zoomed into the event from all over Australia.
Organised by Tourism Australia (TA), the engaging day featured a range of dynamic speakers and panels including leaders from TA and Australian based travel and tourism suppliers and was emceed by Karl Stefanovic of Channel Nine’s Today show fame.
Dan Tehan, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment was one of the first speakers to take to the stage and delivered a keenly anticipated address that talked to JobKeeper, state border closures and the latest iteration of the Holiday Here This Year campaign, which was also publicly launched on the day.
Here’s the key takeaways from his speech.
A rebounding economy, but a hurting one
“You will have seen yesterday the recent economic data, which once again, shows a very strong rebound in our economy,
“So that is a real positive but as we know, there are still parts of our economy which are hurting through no fault of their own. It is of course a result of the international border having been closed for 12 months and also the impact of state border closures and economy-wide lockdowns in States and territories.”
“That hurt is going to continue for a little while yet, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is hope,
“And what we want to do as a federal government is to work with you to make sure that we’re building that bridge to get you through the next three to four to five months to when we’ve had the vaccine fully rolled out in the nation and we can begin to fully open up.”
State border closures the fear, not COVID-19
“Tourism Australia ran a survey recently and what it showed quite clearly was that the greatest fear amongst Australians at the moment about travelling is not coronavirus. It’s economy-wide shutdowns that are causing a lack of confidence to want to travel,
“One of the things we’ve got to do is show the rest of Australia is to have the confidence to travel again.”
“I can remember vividly all the holidays that we took as a child. I was one of six kids and so every holiday that we took as a family was just such a memorable experience. We have to make sure that Australians remember that again and especially in the next three to four months, to get out there and holiday here,
“Think about what it will do for those 660,000 jobs that are aligned in the tourism industry, right across this nation, from our capital cities to the wonderful parts of regional and rural Australia.”
Why we all need to ‘Holiday here this year’
“The holiday here this year campaign has given people confidence and we’ve seen that when they do have the confidence to travel in Australia they will do so,
“And just remember how many would normally take an overseas holiday and what they spend on those overseas holidays,
“So what we’ve also got to remind people is when you’re travelling in Australia, don’t be tight. Dip into your pockets like you do when you’re overseas.”
“Don’t penny-pinch in Australia this year. We want you to spend like you do when you’re heading overseas. And if we can get that message across that will help.”
What about JobKeeper?
“Holiday here this year is not going to be the panacea for the rest of the nation or for the whole of the industry. And that’s where the government, the federal government and the states and territories have a very important role to play,
“JobKeeper has assisted in helping the sector throughout the last 12 months and I’ve got that message loud and clear from you, but JobKeeper will end at the end of March,
“So at the moment, we’re looking at what measures we can put in place, and what type of measures we can put in place to help them support you,
“Thank you again for your engagement with me to help point the way as to how we do that. From my recent trip to Queensland, there was one message which stuck with me. And that was from a very smart operator who said to me when I asked the question, “What would you like more than anything else?” And he said, “Tourists.”, a pretty simple response but a very telling response. And that is what we will be trying to do,
“We’ll be trying to bring the tourists back. We’re going to make the states and territories to help us in that regard. And I’ll be meeting with state and territory ministers next week because I have a key role to play as well.”
“Not only in making sure the border closures are a last resort, but also in making sure they are playing their part within their state or territory to engage with the sector and help the sector build these bridges that we need to build out over the next three, four, five, six months as we roll the vaccine out,
A bright future for the industry
“We need all Australians to play their role as well. We need them to make sure that they don’t just think about taking a holiday. But instead, think what a wonderful thing it would be to take a holiday. They actually book it and they take that holiday and as I said before, they spend like they’ve never spent before when it comes to taking a holiday here in Australia,
“I’m very confident that the future of the industry is bright. You’ll hear more from me in the coming weeks as to what plans we are putting in place to make sure that we will be guaranteeing the success of our tourism sector, not only in the next six months but out to 2030. And I want you to be all a part of that journey.”
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