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Minister Warns Tourism Australia Not To Fail

By Ian Neubauer

The Federal Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson, has warned Tourism Australia its collaboration with Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming feature film Australia cannot fail.

“Tourism is highly important in this country as it employs half a million people. It’s about key jobs  in rural communities and as minister I have a responsibility to keep rural Australia alive,” he said at a Sydney press conference marking the government’s engagement of Luhrmann’s production team to promote the country overseas.

“I only pray that they get it right because so many people are relying on us to get it right,” he said. “We have to work harder. We have to get on with the job.

“This is about jobs. There is  a lot of pressure on me and we hope you get it right because we can’t afford to make any more mistakes,” Ferguson said, referring to last year’s failed ‘So Where the Bloody Hell are You?‘ campaign.

Luhrmann said the campaign would stand alone from the film and not be dependent on its success. “If the film flops the campaign can still succeed,” he said.

But Tourism & Transport Forum managing director, Christopher Brown, said it was unrealistic to think the campaign would not save the industry on its own.

“We spend a lot of time worrying about what’s written on the shop window, without making sure that the product on the shelves inside is right,” Brown told The Australian Financial Review, adding that the campaign “needs to be complemented by a comprehensive national tourism strategy that will help the industry overcome some of the immediate and long-term obstacles.”  

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