Interview with Peter Stefanovic, First Edition

  • Transcript, E&OE
Subjects: Tourism Australia's new advertisement campaign and Russia-Ukraine tensions.
14 February 2022

Peter Stefanovic: Joining us live now is the Trade and Tourism Minister, Dan Tehan. Minister, good morning to you. So when and where is it going to run?

Dan Tehan: Well, it's running this week. It'll be running immediately after the Super Bowl so, Tourism Australia have done a great job positioning this ad. They've been working very hard throughout the pandemic to make sure we're ready to go. So it'll be targeted North America, the UK and parts of Europe to start with and then obviously, we'll go into Asia. So it's just the beginning. 40 million to start off with and that spend will continue to grow as people's confidence grow to travel again. And it's a great tagline because what we're looking for people to do is to stop thinking about their small trip within their own country and think international again and that's why we want them thinking big and thinking Australia. And doesn't it make you proud when you see all those wonderful sites -

Peter Stefanovic: Nah, you're right about that.

Dan Tehan: - and those attractions that we’ve got to offer?

Peter Stefanovic: It sure does. But why not run it during the Super Bowl? Is that a missed opportunity?

Dan Tehan: No, it's a little expensive, Pete. I think it's about $6.5 million just for 30 seconds so -

Peter Stefanovic: It's a big audience though, there’s a lot of eye balls -

Dan Tehan: It's a big audience, it is and also, I think you have to have booked those slots a long time ahead. And as you know, we've had to work on the scientific advice as to when we could re-open, and we've got that decision the 21st. I think we're all looking forward to that date, especially the 650,000 Australians who work in our tourism industry.

Peter Stefanovic: Just on, now, that's a fair point. You got unlucky. You've got to say with the previous ad that had that whole line up of stars, Kylie Minogue et cetera, and then the pandemic hit, was that a waste in the end? Have you had to write that off or can you dig that up again?

Dan Tehan: Oh look, I'm sure some of the footage and some of the messages can be used again, but you've got to remember, you've got to stay up to date. And the big thing now with international travel is that people have got into a mindset of traveling locally and traveling regionally. And what this ad does is send that message. It's time to go big again. If you want to go big, there's no better place than going to than Australia. So you've got to make sure your marketing message keeps up with the times. So this campaign, and full credit to Tourism Australia, they've understood where thinking is. They obviously do a lot of research on it, and they've just sent a message out there to everyone who's been traveling locally, internationally, it's now time to really think about those big trips again, and that's what this ad is all about.

Peter Stefanovic: Okay. Well, as you mentioned, there North America. It's a part of your key audience that you're targeting here. How much interest are you getting out of travellers from the US? As we know, the gates open up next Monday. But is there a challenge given that a huge chunk of America saw us during the pandemic as this overly policed, anti-liberal destination?

Dan Tehan: No the demand is strong and I've got to say everything we're hearing back is that the people are keen to travel and the demand for Australia is very strong. I was over in the US last year in the heart of the pandemic, the heart of the lockdown in Victoria, and I can tell you even then the US were very keen to get back to Australia. They love Australia. They love what we've got to offer. They know we're a warm, welcoming, open people. They know that we're safe. We've got wonderful attractions. They couldn't wait. The question everyone wanted to ask me is when are you reopening? When are you reopening? So this news has been really, really warmly received.

Peter Stefanovic: Just switching hats just to close out here Minister to trade portfolio. If Russia does invade Ukraine, what will we be faced with from a trade sense?

Dan Tehan: Well, obviously if that does happen and we're hopeful that it won't and obviously all the diplomatic pressure is being put on to ensure that it doesn't. But if it did, then it's highly likely there will be very strong sanctions against Russia and we'll have to play our part in that regard. Our hope is we don't get there. We want a de-escalation. We've been calling on Russia to de-escalate. But if it happens, then you'd be looking at trade sanctions and we would be part of that.

Peter Stefanovic: And just at a lower level if I can put it that way. What sort of price rises would we see? Obviously, petrol would become much more expensive.

Dan Tehan: Well, it is likely that we would see oil prices rise, gas prices rise. But let's hope that doesn't happen. Pete, what we want is Russia to de-escalate. That's what the diplomatic community globally is asking for. And that's what we'd like to see because there will be consequences. It will upset the geostrategic balance again. It's uncertain enough and that international rules based order has stored the globe since the second world war in very good stead. We've seen remarkable economic growth, but these are uncertain times. Let's hope that Russia can deescalate that we don't see this because there could be very broad consequences.

Peter Stefanovic: Okay, Dan Tehan, I appreciate your time as always. We'll talk to you soon.

Dan Tehan: Thanks, Pete.

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