Former Australian Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson has thanked the hotel industry for its support during his five years in office.
Ferguson exclusively penned a letter to HM magazine, which was handed out to delegates at yesterday’s Australasian Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE) in Melbourne.
Here is what Ferguson said:
During my five and a half years as Minister for Tourism, and two years as Shadow Minister, I got to know many of you exceptionally well, both professionally and personally. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the portfolio and am very proud of what was achieved, both by my former Department, the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism and Tourism Australia. These achievements would not have been possible without the support and assistance of the tourism industry, including many from the hotels sector, and I thank each and every one of you for your contribution.
Some of the many achievements in the industry include the development of Tourism 2020; a whole of government approach to working with the tourism industry to achieve Australia’s tourism potential. The Tourism 2020 strategy has lead us to a focus on the key issues of labour and skills, especially shortages and the importance of Indigenous employment in tourism. We are also aware of the need to seek out large scale investment and streamline regulatory processes for developments in tourism product, including in hotels.
For the first time, Tourism Australia actively started marketing Australia as an investment destination for tourism products including hotels. Under this government, tourism is now one of Austrade’s investment priorities, which will help grow the sector and improve the quality of product and ensure that Australia remains a competitive holiday and business events destination in this Asian Century. Tourism Australia’s highly successful campaign, ‘There’s nothing like Australia’ aims to turn international travellers desire to travel to Australia into a reality. The results speak for themselves with over 6 million visitors to Australia in the last twelve months, including significant growth from Asian countries such as China – which is now our biggest spending market. While there have been challenges, the tourism industry is notoriously resilient. It is the hard work and dedication of those working within the industry and alongside that will ensure the tourism industry will thrive in the future.
I would like to thank all of the agencies, associations, businesses – both large and small – that I worked with while Minister for Tourism and Shadow Minister.
These achievements would not have been possible without you. Your support, dedication and professionalism to such an important industry in the Australian economy are invaluable.
I wish you every success with your conference.
Martin Ferguson AM MP