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Tourism industry SARS meeting.

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Media Release The Hon Joe Hockey MP Minister for Small Business and Tourism

30 April 2003 03/076


A SARS tourism response meeting was called today by the Federal Government, with 35 key industry leaders representing a broad cross-section of Australia’s tourism industry meeting in Sydney.

These included key representatives from various industry organisations, airlines, inbound and outbound operators, the business tourism and meetings sector, federal government officials, restaurant and catering, transport and accommodation providers.

The consensus from the meeting was that despite Australia having no recorded cases to date of SARS, the epidemic is having an impact on traveller confidence. This is causing a significant business downturn in Australia’s tourism industry.

There are many tourism operators who rely heavily on inbound arrivals and in the current climate they are doing it tough.

A knock-on effect of the negative impact on traveller confidence is that the aviation industry is suffering from a misconception that it is unsafe to travel on planes. Some destinations however, are subject to travel warnings by the Federal Government so all Australian travellers should check with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade before travelling to an overseas destination.

Industry leaders stressed the need to let potential overseas visitors know that we have not had an outbreak of SARS and that Australia is open for business.

The Federal Government will continue working to quarantine Australia from the disease.

A further meeting between the industry and the Federal Government is scheduled in a fortnight’s time. In the meantime the Government will continue to monitor the situation and liaise with the industry, state and territory governments on short and medium term responses.

Media contact: Sasha Grebe (02) 9929 9822