Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison
Australian PM, Scott Morrison.

Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has heaped praise on the country’s tourism industry, saying he knows from personal experience how hard the sector works and how much everyone wants to see the end of the COVID-19 crisis.

Speaking via a live appearance during a Tourism Australia webinar this afternoon, the PM said the current environment was a crisis the tourism industry could never have imagined and that it was causing incredible hardship all around the country. But the PM added he was urging everybody to cling on to hope and to look forward to the day all of this could be consigned to the annals of history.

“There will be another side of this,” Morrison said.

“People are going to want to rush back here after going through the hell of however long it will have been by the time we get through this, and Australia is going to be high on their list I reckon.

“We are doing everything we possibly can to keep the wheels of our economy turning, to support not just those living in the cities but in far-flung parts of the country and rural and regional areas.

The PM said he knew visitors would again return to Australia in the near future.

Morrison, himself a former Managing Director of Tourism Australia, said he knew from first-hand experience how hard people have worked to build businesses and livelihoods and that the passion for what people in the sector have for what they do was plainly evident.

“In every single part of our country, I’ve always known that in the tourism industry, people do this because they just love it. And for many of you, you’ve been terribly successful, others eke out a living from it and it enables you to live the life you want to live.

“And what this virus has taken from you in weeks past and for those who were in bushfire-affected areas before that, it has just been the worst of times.

Scott Morrison in his former guise as Managing Director of Tourism Australia.

The Australian PM said the road out will be incredibly important and that all national tourism bodies would play a huge part in the recovery program.

“My heart breaks for those losing everything through this. I know the sector really well and I know how passionate you are about what you do,” Morrison said.

“It’s not just about what you’re losing financially. It’s the life you’ve been able to live and enjoy, the passion that you’ve had and the dream you’ve been able to make a reality for yourself for so long and I want you to get that dream back.

“I want you to get that lifestyle back. I want you to get that business back and I want you to get the visitors back and as soon as we can do that, I can assure you we’ll be going there.

“Thanks for hanging in there. I wish you every strength that you’re going to need in the many months ahead. We will get through this together.”