Lisa Wilkinson: Well, now to a man who spends his days thinking about tourism and his nights or at least tonight, showcasing one of Adelaide’s great tourist attractions, Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham. Good evening to you, minister, before everyone thinks you are standing in front of a giant tub of green jelly at the local pub, can you explain for our audience where are you?
Simon Birmingham: Hey, Lisa, I’m at the Adelaide Oval, the magnificent Adelaide Oval, doing the Adelaide Oval Roof Climb. It has been closed the last two months but as a sign that our tourism industry is coming back to life, tomorrow it reopens to visitors who are starting doing tours again. So, this just a sign that we have turned the corner and even though you may not be able to travel freely across the country just yet, these sorts of experiences are back. And by coming back and doing them, you will help to save some businesses and save some jobs across our tourism industry.
Rachel Corbett: You know this industry better than everyone. We’ve had quite a year so far. How much is the industry hurting?
Simon Birmingham: There has never been a year as devastating as this for our tourism industry. One in 13 Australian jobs depends to some degree on our tourism speck tore and it is made up so much of mum-and-dad small business operators across the country. Essentially they’ve had no business at all of late, but there are 9.5 million people who used to come here last year as international visitors. That’s 9.5 million people who can’t possibly be wrong, so that’s why Australians, when they can this year, need to get out and enjoy these incredible type of incredible tourism experiences.
Chris Brown: Now, Birmo – I hope I can call you that – too late now, anyway.
Simon Birmingham: Absolutely.
Chris Brown: The country is coming back to life at different speeds. People may be hesitant to go ahead and book a holiday. What do you say to them tonight?
Simon Birmingham: Firstly, I say always follow the health advice, that’s for sure. Secondly, follow the guidance as to what’s reopening and when. Thirdly make sure you check in terms of refund policies and travel insurance, if need be, but there are plenty of short breaks, short trips that people can start taking now, and I hope in the not-too-distant future, they will be able to get on a plane and crisscross the country, too. I want to see people back, get up to North Queensland, get out across the territory, visit the amazing Horizonal Falls in WA or head back down to Tassie or of course be here in amazing South Australia and our wine regions.
Tommy Little: I’m getting on board the Birmo bandwagon and I’m using it as well. I imagine you get to do all the coolest things in our country in your portfolio. What’s the coolest thing you’ve done in Australia?
Simon Birmingham: I just mentioned the Horizonal Falls, which I did years ago, well before I was in this Job, with my wife, an amazing experience up in the north of WA and an example of one of those bucket list items that people might like to tick off, but there are so many of them, you don’t have to travel right across the country, you will often one right in your backyard. I’m looking forward to getting back to Kangaroo Island, as soon as I can, for a camping trip with the family to support a fire-affected industry but also to support tourism business who are doing it tough because of COVID-19.
Lisa Wilkinson: Birmo, I’m so with you on the Horizonal Falls. Thanks for your time tonight.
Simon Birmingham: Thanks guys, thanks for all you’re doing. Love Australia!