Channel Nine, Today Show
LISA WILKINSON: In the wake of Cyclone Debbie, Tourism Australiais this morning declaring to the world that Queensland is back in business.Overnight, the nation's peak tourism body launched a massive advertisingcampaign in Paris to encourage international visitors back to the SunshineState. And Trade and Tourism Minister Steve Ciobo joins us now from the Frenchcapital. Bonsoir, Minister. Why Paris?
STEVEN CIOBO: Well, good evening, good morning, Lisa. It isgreat to be with you. Look, this is because, one of the reasons is that theFrench are particularly keen to get out and explore Australia. They make reallygreat international tourists. We wanted to make sure that we invested, as youknow, when we spoke when I was up at Hamilton Island not long after CycloneDebbie went through, wanted to invest money together with the State Governmentto entice international tourists to come back and to explore how magnificentAirlie Beach is, the Whitsundays, the Great Barrier Reef, all the things we arefamous for.
LISA WILKINSON: How important is it to re-establish tourism inthe area following Cyclone Debbie? There are a lot of businesses andpoliticians blaming Cyclone Debbie on downturns in the area.
STEVEN CIOBO: Well, you know, Lisa, the fact is that we doknow that when unfortunately, a cyclone or some other natural disaster takesplace, that people do often cancel their holiday plans. And you'd recall whenwe spoke not long after Cyclone Debbie, we really wanted to encourage people tomake sure they still took their holidays in the Whitsundays, at Airlie Beach,through that part of Queensland, and the reason being, Lisa, is because thereare so many businesses that rely on the tourism industry. There are so manyjobs that rely on the tourism industry. And frankly, the last thing we needafter a particular area like that goes through the tragedy and the trauma of acyclone is to then be followed by months and months and months of not havingbusiness because tourists are staying away. And that is why I'm so determined,as Tourism Minister, to make sure we can entice not only domestic customersback, but international customers too.
LISA WILKINSON: Are all of the businesses up and running?
STEVEN CIOBO: Yes, look, by and large they are. I mean, thereis still, unfortunately, you know, a small, small number who are still waitingon parts or have issues to overcome and we have got a couple of the resorts onthe islands which are themselves still undergoing repair. But throughout theregion, just about all of the resorts are back up and running. As I said, thereare some exceptions, but ultimately, we want to make sure that we areattracting international tourists back into that part of Queensland because itis just so critical, as I said, for jobs and for growing the economy in the area.
LISA WILKINSON: Alright, Steve Ciobo, we will have to leave itthere. Enjoy Paris.
STEVEN CIOBO: Thanks, Lisa.