Mar 1, 2019

Speech to the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards – ‘Investing in Our Future’ – Launceston – Friday, 1 March 2019

It is a pleasure to join colleagues from across the tourism industry here – at Launceston’s famous Cataract Gorge – to celebrate excellence in Australian tourism.

I congratulate all of tonight’s award nominees and winners.

Northern Tasmania is a truly phenomenal part of the world.

It is home to the purple fields of the Bridestowe Lavender Farm, the rolling hills of the renowned Tamar Valley wine region and numerous heritage sites across both the natural and built environment.

And when it comes to tourism, Tasmania as a whole always performs well, with the latest International Visitor Survey showing a 15 per cent increase in visitor numbers and a 13 per cent increase in expenditure.

But many of our unique and varied tourism offerings depend on the natural environment and I want to acknowledge the devastation wreaked by recent fires in the Huon Valley and Central Tasmania.

For my part, I will continue to work with the tourism sector to identify ways in which we can restore and rejuvenate affected areas.

Tourism in Australia is also dependent on another critical and equally unique asset: you right here.

And we must remember that this requires investment as well.

That’s why I’m pleased to announce tonight that a Shorten Labor Government will invest $6 million in the Australian Tourism Industry Council’s Quality Tourism Framework.

The fact of the matter is that tourism can be a job for life.

Tourism is a career.

And it deserves recognition as such.

Not only does this investment in skills and training acknowledge the important work that you do, but it will also give Australia a competitive edge.

We live in a rapidly changing world where people are more connected and have more information available to them than ever before.

This naturally impacts tourism.

It affects where people decide to go and the experiences they choose to participate in.

By investing in product development we can make sure that we are adaptive and innovative and continue to provide the quality tourism experiences that people expect from Australia.

The Quality Tourism Framework will develop 10,000 high quality tourism businesses and bring to market an annual stream of new internationally competitive tourism experiences.

It will provide businesses with a single pathway for online training, quality assurance, product development, digital distribution and market development.

Part of our investment will contribute to domestic marketing of Quality Tourism Businesses, by promoting and facilitating bookings direct to businesses without losing commissions to international online travel agencies.

This will make a difference to your bottom line, it will promote the diversity of tourism offerings around Australia to Australians, and it will provide a better all-round experience by linking customers direct to businesses.

The future of tourism in Australia is bright.

You know the facts:  this is a super growth sector that employs one million Australians and generates more than $97 billion each year in economic activity.

And this trajectory is set to grow.

The Quality Tourism Framework has an important role to play in unlocking tourism’s future potential and I congratulate the Australian Tourism Industry Council on their effort in this space.

Thank you for the invitation to speak tonight and I look forward to continuing to work with all of you to grow and develop Australia’s tourism potential.