Tourism Ministers and Tourism Senior Officials met today in Adelaide to discuss priorities for the Australian visitor economy.
This was the first formal meeting of the nation’s Tourism Ministers under the Albanese Labor Government.
The Chair of the Tourism Ministers’ Meeting (TMM), Federal Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator the Hon Don Farrell, warmly welcomed new members of the TMM – Hon Zoe Bettison, South Australian Minister for Tourism and Multicultural Affairs and co-host for the meeting, Hon Nicole Manison, Northern Territory Deputy Chief Minister, the Hon Ben Franklin, NSW Minister for Tourism and the Hon Steve Dimopoulos, Victorian Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events. He also thanked existing members Andrew Barr from ACT, the Hon Stirling Hinchliffe from Queensland, and the Hon Roger Cook from Western Australia for their continued leadership. Mr Kim Evans, Secretary, Department of State Growth, attended the TMM on behalf of the Hon Jeremy Rockliff from Tasmania.
Ministers noted the pleasing rebound in Australia’s visitor economy. Tourism Research Australia’s latest quarterly data shows domestic visitor expenditure in all States and Territories has now returned to or exceeded its pre-pandemic levels, and international visitors are also steadily returning.
But, as all Ministers noted, the work is not over. Businesses and operators across the tourism sector are still hurting from the ongoing effects of the pandemic, and their recovery is our number one priority.
Ministers acknowledged the crucial role the tourism sector plays in the Australian economy as a large export earner, and generator of jobs and income. Ministers affirmed their commitment to work together to build Australia’s tourism industry back better and achieve the targets of Australia’s national strategy for the visitor economy, THRIVE 2030. Ministers also noted the importance of Australia’s cultural tourism offerings.
The meeting discussed challenges facing the tourism industry, with workforce shortages and aviation identified as the two most critical areas for action.
Ministers endorsed a collaborative workplan for State and Territory and Commonwealth Government officials to deliver over the coming 12-18 months. The workplan aligns with THRIVE 2030 and State and Territory tourism strategies with a focus on the topics of workforce and skills, insurance, sustainability, aviation, Indigenous tourism, tourism in national parks, accessible tourism, and investment attraction, including in developing and sustaining cultural assets.
In support of the workplan, the Federal Minister for Trade and Tourism has offered to write to the nation’s Education Ministers to speed up mutual recognition of occupational licencing for workers in the tourism industry and to ensure tourism training is included in fee-free TAFE programs.
Ministers will re-convene in the first quarter of 2023 and will continue meeting regularly.
Regardless of our geographical and party differences – every Australian working in the tourism and hospitality industries has the support and commitment of each one of the nation’s tourism ministers.