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New tourism campaign a $13 million slight of hand.



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Gavan O'Connor MP MEMBER FOR CORIO

SHADOW MINISTER FOR TOURISM SHADOW MINISTER FOR REGIONAL SERVICES, TERRITORIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT 22 May 2003

NEW TOURISM CAMPAIGN A $13 MILLION SLIGHT OF HAND

The $13 million campaign announced by Tourism Minister Joe Hockey this week to promote Australian tourism overseas is a sham.

The Howard Government has not contributed one new cent to this campaign and, in fact, have just cut their contribution to the overall budget for the Australian Tourist Commission by more than $600,000.

When the SARS virus first hit Mr. Hockey applied the brakes to most overseas promotion activity by the Australian Tourist Commission.

All he has done now is shift his foot from the brake pedal to the accelerator. Trouble is he didn’t put any more petrol in the tank. In fact, he syphoned a bit off while he thought no one was looking.

Now that promotion activity has started up again he is trying to claim it as a brand new $13.2 million campaign.

There has been some realignment of the marketing dollars away from markets where SARS has hit hard and into ‘safe markets’, but the fact remains that our overall overseas marketing effort has been cut, not increased.

At a time when our competitors in Asia, Europe and America are gearing up for massive marketing campaigns to try and get bigger shares of the tourist dollar, the Howard Government has actually run down our tourist promotion budget.

Last year the Australian Tourist Commission had a total of $112.7 million to spend and now its overall budget has been cut to $107 million, with falls in both government and industry contributions.

This is the third time lately that Joe Hockey has tried to fool the industry and the public that the Howard Government has put its hand into its pocket to increase tourism funding. (Domestic Promotion $2M, ACT post bushfire promotion $500,000 and now International Promotion $13 M). In each case it has been smoke and mirrors aplenty but no new money.

The Howard Government has contributed absolutely nothing from its own resources to assist our tourism industry through the current crisis.

Contact Bernie Eades on 0418 523 820