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Pleasing tourism report card for 1998

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Media Release

The Hon. Jackie Kelly

Minister for Sport and Tourism


23 February 1999



Pleasing tourism report card for 1998


The Federal Minister for Sport and Tourism, Jackie Kelly, said Australia had recorded an outstanding level of inbound tou rism though 1998. 


"Contrary to widespread predictions of a massive downturn in tourism ~ off the back of the collapse of Asian economies ~ Australia has recorded a minuscule 3.7 per cent drop in the flow of inbound tourists. 


"Today's ABS data confirms Australia's position as 'the strong man' of the world in withstanding the economic storms that threaten our well-being. 


"This outstanding result is testament to the marketing skills and high level of professionalism in the Australian tourism industry today. 


"In particular, I want to pay tribute to those at the Australian Tourist Commission who had the foresight to re-focus the marketing away from the failing Asian market to enhance awareness of Australia's first-class tourism product in Europe and the United States. 


"The figures show Australia has recorded marked increases in both these markets which means that when the Asian market does come good, Australia will be in a win-win situation." 


The Minister said that December's overall increase of 0.5 per cent, which was the first month-on-month increase since June last year, augured well for the coming year. 


On a regional level, the UK was up by 14 per cent on 1997, the US increased by 13.5 per cent, China by 15.5 per cent, Europe by 4.5 per cent and New Zealand by 3.5 per cent. 


"The figures provide evidence that Australia's tourism interests have been protected in the best possible way and that the integrity of the tourism industry is second to none. 


"The increased funding to the Australian Tourist Commission has assisted Australia in weathering emerging difficulties and focus its efforts on high yielding marketing strategies. 


"Today's better than expected figures provide some comfort for the whole industry. Last year was always going to be the year which broke the pattern of record growth rates, and in the circumstances the results are a commendable achievement."



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Peter Cassuben 

Minister Kelly's Office 

0417 980 009