Minister tips hat to Oprah, but says tourism has its work cut out for it
Tourism gets a boost from an unlikely source: Oprah Winfrey
September marked the premier of Oprah Winfrey, with a surprise trip to Australia
Federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson acknowledged on November 15th that the announcement Oprah made on the September premier episode of her final season that she would be taking her entire audience to Australia was a boon to the Australian economy, but there was much work to be done; while speaking at the 2010 inaugural Tourism Directions Conference.
In his statement he pointed to The National Long Term Tourism Strategy, “an unprecedented agreement by State and Territory Governments and the Commonwealth on the priorities for tourism over the coming years.” This strategy would invest in infrastructure and development in all states, including:
• Development of a framework for national tourism accreditation.
• National recognition of Responsible Service of Alcohol Certification.
• Preparation of a guide to help investors navigate development and planning approval processes.
With the economic recovery, economists are expecting renewed interest in world wide travel, the Minister pointed to recent figures. “In 2009, when global travel declined by four percent, Australia’s international visitor numbers were line ball with those of the previous year and we have been able to maintain the industry’s economic contribution to Australia.”
Travel and tourism is no small industry, “it accounts for almost a million jobs directly and indirectly, and generates $24 billion in exports and 2.6 percent of Australia’s GDP,” said Ferguson. Concerns that the present market cannot support an influx of tourists was also addressed. “We therefore need to work with state and territory governments to facilitate hotel development.”
The report also predicts a 5 percent increase of tourists to Australia in the next year. The minister went on the expound federal re-investment, and more plans to develop this industry.
“The recent coup of getting Oprah Winfrey to Australia … is a hard act to follow,” Mr. Ferguson finished.
The complete transcript can be found here: