Labor would have tourism minister

Federal Opposition tourism spokesman Anthony Albanese has promised Labor will appoint a dedicated tourism minister if the party is returned to power after the 2016 election, according to The Australian.

“Tourism is our second-largest export and it’s extraordinary that given it will grow in importance in the years ahead that there is no one responsible for it. Earning $107 billion a year, tourism is our largest services export,” he said. “At the moment the tourism ministry needs to be in the cabinet. It is such a critical area for Australia that has many implications.

You need to have discussions across economic policy, skills, making sure the workforce is available, the environment and the potential for Australia’s tourism industry with the growth of the middle class in the Asia–Pacific.”

The Australian quoted Tourism & Transport Forum chief executive Margy Osmond praised the decision but added, “It would be great to see Australia emulate New Zealand, which has acknowledged the importance of tourism to its economy with the prime minister also holding the tourism portfolio.”

At present, trade minister Andrew Robb claims to act in the federal tourism role.

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