Presenter: …this is good news for regional Australia?

Simon Birmingham: This is awesome news for regional Australia. You know we spent $113 billion dollars from tourism-related activity injected into Australia in 2018, and that's fuelled by around eight point four million international visitors. And it's just great to see them getting out and seeing even more of Australia, getting out into our regions. And around 43 cents in every dollar spent in tourism is estimated to be spent in regional Australia which of course just fuels jobs, small businesses, our pubs, accommodation providers as well as many attractions right across the country.

Presenter: So which regional areas are benefiting from this newfound love affair with the outback and our coastal towns?

Simon Birmingham: We've seen quite strong regional growth in many parts of Australia and Tasmania is absolutely booming which is great news for the Apple Isle. But we also see strong growth around parts of regional Victoria, coastal tourism there along the Great Ocean Road. But really right across different states, my home state here South Australia, strong regional growth and out into the regional parts of New South Wales.

Presenter: We know this glorious Country of ours pretty much sells itself but we've also had to help us a couple of Hemsworth’s too haven't we minister?

Simon Birmingham: We have had the Hemsworth brothers out there as part of our Dundee campaign in the US and some of our traditional markets as well as we've got the new 'Undiscover Australia' campaign in some of our emerging markets of South-East Asia such as Indonesia and Thailand. It’s really important that we keep building new market opportunities, we already see huge growth out of China and India but we're determined to make sure through our government's record investment in tourism marketing, that we keep seizing new opportunities to keep those tourist dollars flowing into Australia.

Presenter: And we really can't underestimate as well the impact that tourism dollars makes on our country towns particularly for those areas that have been so affected by this drought?

Simon Birmingham: It is critical, of course regional Australia is a much more diverse economy than often we give it credit for. Yes there's the strength of agriculture and its significance and of course mining industries as well, but the tourist sector fuels so many jobs in regional Australia. And it's also great, in the latest data analysis of 2018 to see how many Australian domestic travellers are getting out into the bush, into our regions and also supporting our country cousins in terms of job and employment and business opportunities in those country communities.

Presenter: Yet it is absolutely fantastic and why wouldn't you want to soak up the glorious sights of this great country of ours? Simon Birmingham thank you very much for your time this morning and a very happy New Year to you and your family.

Simon Birmingham: And to you, thanks so much guys.

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