Topics: Latest international Visitor and National Visitor Survey results (Sept 2018 quarter)

Journalist: We’ve got the Federal Trade and Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham on the phone. Good morning Senator. This is good news for South Australia especially your home state, are you happy that we’re doing so well perhaps at the expense of other states?

Simon Birmingham: Well good morning guys. Great to speak with you and the good news is that it is good news right across Australia but especially here in South Australia. And that’s part of a trend where we’re seeing more international visitors get out and spend more time in the regions and spend more time across different parts of Australia. That’s been a key part of our marketing drive into our international markets, to make sure that we’re highlighting the regions and to also encourage people to explore and discover some of the lesser-known parts of Australia, to move beyond the traditional icons of the reef, the rock, the bridge, so that we actually then get more repeat visitation and this is clearly yielding dividends and doing so right here in SA which great news.

Journalist: So who are we trying to attract more so, international tourists or those from interstate or it doesn’t really matter?

Simon Birmingham: Well both, obviously a lot of the State Government effort is focused on growing domestic market as well as international, but federally of course our focus is on how we project Australia out to the world. Through Tourism Australia, we run a number of different campaigns. The Dundee campaign that was revived in a very innovative way, with the Hemsworth brothers in the US and some of our traditional markets to the Undiscovered Discover Australia campaign in some of our emerging South-East Asian market. All of a part of a record investment in tourism marketing and we’re seeing great yields from that and really strong growth out of newer markets like China and India but also good opportunities in emerging markets like Indonesia and Thailand.

Journalist: We’re talking to Senator Simon Birmingham about the front page story which is talking up tourism particularly here in South Australia. I guess as well Senator one of the great trade-offs of having the Tour Down Under is that that’s having a fantastic effect too. Just tell us about how important that is and I suppose it’ll be coming up very very soon for us next week?

Simon Birmingham: Tour Down Under is an incredible event and it reflects partly that drive into the region but of course it really does help get more visitors to go out and explore different parts of the state, experience different parts of regional SA. But it’s also an example of how tourism is driven by events and conferences and the different things that will actually provide further attraction to bring people to a state or to a locality and TDU it is incredible (indistinct) in that regard and its of course so important for the various regions that will host different stages of it this year.

Journalist: Simon, we were discussing earlier is there a breakdown here, could there be a bit of devil in the detail as it were, that visitors might be coming here but they might be spending more on Air BnB than traditional hotel accommodation, so the hotels might get a bit of the trade but not as much as they used to from past decades?

Simon Birmingham: We are seeing changes in terms of some visitor behaviour, now it is a growing pot overall, so in that sense the pie grows. Yes, the greater share of that growth might be going into non-traditional accommodation which is good news for property owners and those engaged in those sectors, but that obviously means that some of those traditional accommodation providers may not be getting the same market share as previously. But that’s why it’s important to keep growing that pie so that it’s not a loss necessarily in those traditional categories. And equally we’re seeing really strong interest in the growth areas you might not expect. When I was at the China International Expo in Shanghai chatting to various investors, they were showing great enthusiasm for caravan park opportunities in Australia and particularly singling out the likes of the Big4 in Renmark. They are seeing in the tourist market, real opportunity across the spectrum to get international visitors to come. (indistinct) authentic experiences so staying at an Air BnB property is obviously is one type of that but that can also range from is saying in an air being the property obviously one type of that but that can also range from the caravan park experiences right through of course to the classic Resort accommodation on KI.

Journalist: And we have seen the I guess the expansion you could say of the Adelaide Convention Centre over recent years and decades, is The conference trade, it seems to me every time I look down there is 10 things happening, and you’re usually at mostly of them?

Simon Birmingham: Well certainly it’s a great place to get lost almost nowadays the Convention Centre because there’s so much happening, so often. But like the Tour Down Under, its an example of how conferences, events, meetings and exhibitions they’re all so important to provide an additional impetus for people to come to South Australia. This year South Australia is critically, importantly the hosting the Global Airline Routes Conference which is where all the different leaders of airlines come to work out how they plot and plan their air routes for the future years. And that of course means that Adelaide, South Australia, will be foremost in their mind when they’re having those discussions. That’s a great example of a conference that will bring people here but also yield other potential economic spin-offs as they make decisions influenced by their time in South Australia.

Journalist: Alright Simon we will leave it there. Senator Simon Birmingham the Federal Trade and Tourism Minister and great news for South Australia.