Scott Morrison The Australian PM who “Gets” Tourism
The result of the Australian election has assured the tourism industry that over the next few years, the Australian government is being led by a Prime Minister who gets the significance of tourism. While Australians will no doubt debate the Morrison government on a range of issues, the need for tourism associations to convince Scott Morrison that tourism matters will not be one of their problems.
Of course, this does not mean that the Australian tourism industry can take for granted that tourism will attract the level of government support that it deserves or needs. Many interest groups will be vying for political and financial support from the government. The tourism industry needs to maintain a united front and a clear set of priorities when making a case for government support.
Many leaders of the Australian tourism industry are well aware of Scott Morrison’s association with tourism. However, for the benefit of ETB Travel News readers across Australia and around the world it is worth knowing that Mr Morrison was a tourism professional for over 10 years between 1995-2006.
The high point of his tourism career was as the Managing Director of Tourism Australia 2004-2006. Morrison was sometimes criticised for Tourism Australia’s “where the bloody hell are you” marketing campaign. However, he was also praised as the architect of Tourism Australia’s marketing campaign targeting tourism from China. He was also the General Manager of Tourism Council of Australia 1995-1998. New Zealand readers may be surprised to know he served in the New Zealand office for Tourism and Sport 1998-2000.
It is fair to say that Scott Morrison is likely to be Australia’s most pro-tourism Prime Minister since the late Bob Hawke. Bob Hawke (Prime Minister 1983-1992) died just a few days before the 2019 Australian elections. He was credited with appointing Australia’s first Federal tourism minister, John Brown in 1983. As John Brown recalled in a recent ABC Radio interview, Hawke overruled treasury opposition to support financing the Australian Tourism Commission’s (the precursor of Tourism Australia) first serious international destination marketing campaigns featuring Paul Hogan.
The challenge for the Australian tourism industry’s leaders is to translate Morrison’s knowledge and commitment to tourism into real economic support for national tourism marketing, vital tourism infrastructure and support for travel industry management and staff training and development.