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Migrants an asset for the tourism industry

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An Action Plan setting out the steps the tourism industry is taking to capitalise on our language and cultural diversity was launched today by the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock.

"With Australia rated as one of the world's preferred tourist destinations, the tourism industry contributes $21-billion to our export earnings - a figure which will be further bolstered by the Sydney Olympics in the year 2000," Mr Ruddock said.

"Australia's multicultural background helped us secure the Olympics. Immigrants have brought a wealth of knowledge and experience that can be tapped by the tourism industry to maximise the benefits we gain from this sector."

The Action Plan was jointly developed by industry, government and ethnic community representatives and launched at the opening of The Language and Cultural Awareness in the Tourism Industry Workshop in Sydney today.

The workshop is the first in a series being held In centres around Australia. They are being jointly hosted by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) and the Inbound Tourism Organisation of Australia (ITOA). The workshops highlight how the skills and knowledge of migrant communities can be harnessed to cater for the needs of visitors to Australia whose first language is not English.

"Forty per cent of Australia's population is born overseas or has at least one parent born overseas, and 13.5 per cent were born in a non-English speaking country," Mr Ruddock said.

"Consequently Australian migrant communities with their language and cultural skills are well placed to help the tourism industry take advantage of continued growth in this sector.

"Australia is in a fortunate position as a tourist destination. Not only do we have unique attractions which draw visitors from all over the world, but we also have people with knowledge and appreciation of other cultures and languages. The tourism industry can capitalise on this knowledge.

"The diversity of source countries for immigration is one of our great strengths. The non-discriminatory migration program has brought people from around the world and has provided us with a wide cultural diversity which is an asset waiting to be maximised."

25 October 1996 Media Contact; Steve Ingram (06) 277 7860 0419 278 715

Note: Media Releases and Fact Sheets are available on the Internet:

The Hon. Philip Ruddock MR

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs

Parliament House, Canberra AC i 2600

Telephone: (06) 277 7860 Facsimile' (06) 273 4144

MRS 69/96