While much of Australia viewed last week’s government leadership debacle with horror, the accommodation industry has welcomed the reshuffle.
Not only is the government now led by a former head of Tourism Australia in Scott Morrison, but freshly-minted tourism minister Simon Birmingham comes from a strong background in the industry.
Accommodation Association of Australia CEO Richard Munro said the elevation of ScoMo to PM meant the country was led by someone with a “strong understanding of the tourism industry”.
And he congratulated Mr Birmingham on his appointment, saying: “Both before and after he entered parliament, Mr Birmingham has been a strong advocate for tourism – including recognising the importance of tourism to the economy in his maiden speech in parliament – and therefore, our industry is delighted that he is the new Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.
“On behalf of our members, the Accommodation Association has been actively involved in the development of a new national long-term tourism strategy for Australia and we look forward to minister Birmingham delivering this in the near future.”
Birmingham worked in the South Australian wine, tourism and hospitality sectors before entering the Senate, after which he was responsible for national parks as an undersecretary in the environment portfolio.
He started out as an adviser and then chief-of-staff to the South Australian tourism minister, enjoying a stint managing public affairs for the Australian Hotels Association and directing stakeholder relations for the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia in his life before politics.
Mr Munro said the industry was also “pleased” with the appointment of Josh Frydenberg as treasurer – and would waste no time in lobbying the new deputy PM for curbs on offshore booking platforms.
“Mr Frydenberg…has a vitally important role to play in helping to preserve and increase funding for Tourism Australia,” he said.
“One way to do this would be for offshore-based online travel agencies to pay more tax in Australia, a market from which these global behemoths are making millions of dollars in profits.”
Mr Munro said the association thanked outgoing tourism minister Steve Ciobo for his “outstanding” efforts over a number of years.
“Wherever he has travelled across Australia or around the world, he has constantly strived to make what is a great industry – tourism – even better and our industry is deeply indebted to him for this.”