Interview with Monique Wright and Matt Doran, Weekend Sunrise

  • Transcript, E&OE
Subjects: ‘Holiday Here This Year’ tourism campaign, Support for the tourism sector.
31 January 2021

Matt Doran: A brand new tourism campaign is being launched today, encouraging Australians to get out and explore our own backyard. The $5 million advertising blitz highlights all the weird and wacky things that make Down Under such a special place.

Monique Wright: Tourism Australia hopes it will encourage people to holiday at home, bringing some much-needed income to areas badly affected by bushfires and, of course, travel restrictions. Joining us now is Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan. Morning to you, Minister. Thanks for being with us. Listen, you’re encouraging people to look ahead to Easter and to book. The message is terrific, you know, holiday in Australia, it’s enviable around the world. The problem here is confidence, though, isn’t it, Dan? People have now had to cancel several holidays, in many cases, and had to pay cancellation fees. What do we do to get around that? I think people would book if they knew that they weren’t going to have to cover cancellation fees, which is extremely difficult for the tourism operator.

Dan Tehan: Morning, Matt and Mon. It is a difficult time for the tourism industry and that’s why we want to encourage everyone to think about their next holiday. You’ve got the kids back to school, you’re back at work, so on that lunch break think about where you want to go next. And one of the things we do want to do is provide certainty to the sector, and the more certainty we can provide, the better. And we’ll continue to work with state and territory governments, especially around border closures, to make sure that they take a uniform approach because that’s the best way we can provide that certainty but, while we’re doing that, and while we continue to support the tourism sector, what we’ve got to do is make sure that everyone starts planning that next holiday. There are so many wonderful places in Australia for people to visit and the best way we can support our local tourism industry is by booking that next holiday.

Doran: Minister, you’re spot on. And, obviously, confidence in the sector, as Mon has mentioned, is absolutely vital. There are a couple of questions there. Does JobKeeper need to be extended? And, I guess, to Mon’s point, how do you give people that confidence to book when they might risk losing their deposit or, in fact, the entire amount they spend on that trip, if the borders are closed again?

Tehan: So, the best thing we can do is book that holiday and then what we’ll be doing from a Federal Government point of view is working with all our state and territory counterparts to make sure that we’re giving that certainty to people. And, the best thing you can also do is think about, okay, well, if you’re a little bit concerned about a border closing there’s still within each state and territory wonderful places for you to visit. So, book a holiday within your local state or territory, or otherwise book that trip so that you can go to another state or territory, because you’ll be supporting over 660,000 jobs. This is a wonderful industry, provides employment to many Australians, and we’ve got to get behind it and support it.

Wright: Yeah, look, Minister, the message is crucial, isn’t it. And, yes, we do want people to travel but, I think, that confidence does still remain a big issue, even not with borders, but just people even leaving their local area that might be in lockdown. Alright, we are out of time. Thank you so much, appreciate it.

Tehan: Been a pleasure. Thank you very much.

Doran: Important we get it right, too. It’s a $100 billion a year industry to the Australian economy.

Wright: Yeah. But, whether it needs to be underwritten in some ways, giving people more confidence that they can book and that they’re not going to be out of pocket.

Doran: I agree.

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