Interview with David Koch, Sunrise

  • Transcript
Subjects: Australian’s border reopening
21 February 2022

David Koch: Today, for the first time in almost two years, Australia's border is open for international tourists. The first of 27 flights have landed down in Sydney, with more than 50 due across the country. Visitors are being welcomed with goodie bags of Vegemite, toy koalas and kangaroos and surf lifesavers are on site to educate tourists about water safety. And one of the people greeting them with koalas and Tim Tams and Vegemite is our Tourism Minister. Who else? Dan Tehan at Sydney Airport. Not a love actually moment to have the Tourism Minister give you a big hug, Minister, but terrific, borders are open.

Dan Tehan: Kochie, it's wonderful and there's a real party atmosphere out here. The DJ is playing, the surf lifesavers are out here. Tourism Australia have got the people out here in their welcome back T-shirts. There's Koalas, Vegemite, Tim Tams being handed out and those poor people getting off that first plane who have done about eighteen- or nineteen- hours long haul, do not know what's hit them, but they’ve entered into the spirit of it. We had the first tourists get off the plane literally about ten minutes ago and people were yelling and shouting. It is a party atmosphere out here at Sydney Airport. It is great because our tourism industry has done it tough for two years. 660,000 people employed in our tourism industry. This is a great day for our nation, but a great, great day for all those people who work in our tourism industry.

David Koch: Because Dan Tehan, pre-pandemic tourism was what, our 3rd, 4th biggest export? It is massive and a massive creator of jobs. How quickly do you expect us to get back up to those pre-pandemic levels?

Dan Tehan: Well, I think we'll see a really, really strong rebound. India was our fastest growing tourism market leading into the pandemic. I was there ten days ago signing an MoU. They're very keen to get traveling to Australia again. We've seen strong demand out of North America, out of the US and Canada. I'm sure the UK will rebound. And New Zealand, which was our second biggest market, it's friends, family and relatives that drive that tourism market and those friends, family and relatives haven't gone away. So as soon as New Zealand fully reopens, I think we're going to see a very strong rebound, which is wonderful news.

David Koch: Yes. Two years of locked borders has cost the economy $25 billion. It's a lot of money to make up. Tell us about the tourism campaign that you've launched overseas to get people here.

Dan Tehan: So it's a $40 million campaign and it's all about saying to overseas tourists to start thinking big again about your holiday. They have to come a fair way to get to Australia. So we've got to stop them thinking my holiday should only be two or 3 hours away. Let's get them thinking big again. And it's just about our wonderful attractions here in Australia and the warmth of our people. None of that has gone away. Those beautiful locations we've got right across Australia are still there and I can tell you from the warmth of the welcome being given here today, that wonderful, wonderful way Australia just deals with its international tourism tourist hasn't changed, so that's what the campaign is all about. We're targeting those key markets that we know we can get demand up and back very quickly in and then we'll broaden that out, so I'm very confident we're going to see a very, very strong rebound.

David Koch: Good. Fingers crossed. All right. We'll let you give away your koala and your Tim Tam and your Vegemite, go and give it to a tourist. Minister thanks for joining us.

Dan Tehan: Good on your Kochie, great to be with you.


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