LISA WILKINSON: In the wake of Cyclone Debbie, Tourism Australia is this morning declaring to the world that Queensland is back in business. Overnight, the nation's peak tourism body launched a massive advertising campaign in Paris to encourage international visitors back to the Sunshine State. And Trade and Tourism Minister Steve Ciobo joins us now from the French capital. Bonsoir, Minister. Why Paris?
STEVEN CIOBO: Well, good evening, good morning, Lisa. It is great to be with you. Look, this is because, one of the reasons is that the French are particularly keen to get out and explore Australia. They make really great international tourists. We wanted to make sure that we invested, as you know, when we spoke when I was up at Hamilton Island not long after Cyclone Debbie went through, wanted to invest money together with the State Government to entice international tourists to come back and to explore how magnificent Airlie Beach is, the Whitsundays, the Great Barrier Reef, all the things we are famous for.
LISA WILKINSON: How important is it to re-establish tourism in the area following Cyclone Debbie? There are a lot of businesses and politicians blaming Cyclone Debbie on downturns in the area.
STEVEN CIOBO: Well, you know, Lisa, the fact is that we do know that when unfortunately, a cyclone or some other natural disaster takes place, that people do often cancel their holiday plans. And you’d recall when we spoke not long after Cyclone Debbie, we really wanted to encourage people to make sure they still took their holidays in the Whitsundays, at Airlie Beach, through that part of Queensland, and the reason being, Lisa, is because there are so many businesses that rely on the tourism industry. There are so many jobs that rely on the tourism industry. And frankly, the last thing we need after a particular area like that goes through the tragedy and the trauma of a cyclone is to then be followed by months and months and months of not having business because tourists are staying away. And that is why I'm so determined, as Tourism Minister, to make sure we can entice not only domestic customers back, but international customers too.
LISA WILKINSON: Are all of the businesses up and running?
STEVEN CIOBO: Yes, look, by and large they are. I mean, there is still, unfortunately, you know, a small, small number who are still waiting on parts or have issues to overcome and we have got a couple of the resorts on the islands which are themselves still undergoing repair. But throughout the region, just about all of the resorts are back up and running. As I said, there are some exceptions, but ultimately, we want to make sure that we are attracting international tourists back into that part of Queensland because it is just so critical, as I said, for jobs and for growing the economy in the area.
LISA WILKINSON: Alright, Steve Ciobo, we will have to leave it there. Enjoy Paris.
STEVEN CIOBO: Thanks, Lisa.
- Trade Minister's Office: (02) 6277 7420
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555