Interview on Channel 7 Sunrise with Sam Armytage

Topics: Domestic tourism increase
11 September 2020

Sam Armytage: Not all doom and gloom today. There's some positive news for tourism operators. New data has showed domestic tourism has increased in June by more than a billion dollars, and visitor numbers more than doubled from 2.35 million in May to 5.4 million in June. Now most of that was due to people travelling within their own state, because of course of border closures. And Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham joins us now. Minister, a good morning and welcome to you. Now obviously, people can't go overseas at the moment, so they're road tripping at home in their own state, which is great news. What kind of difference could opening the borders make here, though?

Simon Birmingham: That's just right, Sam. What this data shows is that where people are allowed to get out and travel, there's enormous enthusiasm to do so, and that they're bolting out to the regions and that's wonderful for many regional tourism businesses. But jeez, our cities, our airlines, our airports, our hire car companies, the tour operators, they're all doing it really tough at present and what they really need to see is some movement around borders opening and embrace of the hotspot approach that health officials have helped to workup that can enable borders to safety open and get other parts of our tourism industry going again, because that's what so important to saving jobs.

Sam Armytage: Okay. So part of travel in this country, 95 per cent of business events this year have been cancelled or postponed. You're announcing a new fund to get that sector going again. How can you help that sector?

Simon Birmingham: Overall, one in 13 Australian jobs relies on our tourism industry to an extent, and about 240,000 of those are within the business event sector. Conferences, exhibitions, those things. And so our Government recognising that that is a long lead time set in terms of a business committing to build an exhibit to show at a major conference or exhibition needs confidence, and we we're going to underpin that with some grants to get that happening. Because that's about saving jobs, not just in the conference centres, but also importantly, the tradies who build the exhibits, the audiovisual guys who run the conferences, the caterers, the cleaners, these are all real jobs and we're desperately trying to find ways to underpin confidence there and save them.

Sam Armytage: Okay. Sounds good, Simon Birmingham, thanks for your time. We appreciate it.

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