Interview with David Koch, Sunrise

  • Transcript, E&OE
Subjects: Return of international tourists, border re-opening
08 February 2022

David Koch: Trade and Tourism Minister Dan Tehan joins me now. Minister, great news. Only two weeks before we open, the world knows us as a fortress, what are we doing to change their mind to say, "Hey, come on back quickly"?

Dan Tehan: Well Tourism Australia have always been in our key markets over the last two years and they're ramping up their presence and their marketing as we speak, particularly in North America and the UK, because they're open to us and we're open to them now, but we're also going to be building up in our other key markets.

So, we've never gone away. We've always been sending that message that as soon as the health advice said we could open that we would. We've obviously had the international students coming back, we've had the backpackers coming back, and now it's great we're welcoming back the rest of the world. Isn't it great news?

David Koch: Yeah, it is great news, but for the rest of the world we're a long way away. It takes a bit of planning to book your holiday to come here because of the travel for them. How quickly will tourism recover?

Dan Tehan: Well, obviously, it will take some weeks and months, and for some markets it will take a little bit longer, but we have always made sure that we've maintained our market presence in terms of Tourism Australia and their advertising through the last two years, and we're ready to ramp that up. We've done all the planning to ramp it up. Obviously, we wanted to start with backpackers and international students because we want to make sure when our international tourists come that our wonderful, wonderful facilities are ready to welcome them.

David Koch: Right.

Dan Tehan: So, it's all been calibrated, it's calibrated on the health advice and from what travel I did last year as Trade and Tourism Minister, everywhere I went and spoke with the local tourism industry internationally they were saying, 'we cannot wait to get back to Australia'.

David Koch: Good.

Dan Tehan: It's wonderful, wonderful news for our 600,000 people that are employed in our tourism.

David Koch: Yeah, it's a huge number. Chamber of Commerce says you should look at waiving tourist visa fees, remove passenger movement charges. Will you look at doing that?

Dan Tehan: Well, we've obviously already done that for our international students and our backpackers. We've had a real surge there.

David Koch: Right, will you do it for tourists?

Dan Tehan: We've seen 28,000 backpackers come. Well look, we'll assess that as we go along.

David Koch: Okay.

Dan Tehan: We've said we'd do it for international students and backpackers, it's working. 7,000 international students arrived last week, 28,000 backpackers over the last couple of months. So that initiative has worked.

David Koch: Okay.

Dan Tehan: Obviously we've got to balance and manage our economy as well, Kochie.

David Koch: So, you'll look at it?

Dan Tehan: As you know the pandemic's put a —we'll look at it, but we've got to manage it along with everything else that we're doing.

David Koch: Just quickly —

Dan Tehan: I can tell you the tourism industry around Australia have warmly, warmly welcomed this.

David Koch: Okay. Definition of fully vaccinated. You're saying double dose but you're telling us we've got to be triple dosed, so are there any provisos on the vaccination, you have to have been double dosed within a certain period?

Dan Tehan: Look, double dosed is what we're requiring. Obviously, different countries have different ways that they say that people are fully vaccinated right across the world, though double vaccinated is what's regarded…

David Koch: M'mm, okay.

Dan Tehan: So that's what we're saying. Double vaccinated and you can come here. You can come and enjoy the most wonderful country in the world, the most wonderful attractions in the world.

David Koch: We know that. Okay. Cruising.

Dan Tehan: Yes.

David Koch: Cruising, does it include cruising, this border opening?

Dan Tehan: It doesn't include cruising at this stage. I would love to welcome the cruise ships back. What I need to be able to do is work with the States and Territories because obviously we have to be able to work with the ports in States and Territories.

David Koch: Okay.

Dan Tehan: But there is cruising occurring in about 60-70 countries. We'd love to get it started here again. I'm in discussions with my State and Territory counterparts and hopefully cruising will be next.

David Koch: Okay. All right, Dan Tehan, thanks for your time.


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