A tourism man runs the country

By | Category: travel, Travel news

Image of Paul Hogan from the Superbowl ad. Is Hogan as Crocodile Dundee the best draw to attract tourists? ©Tourist Australia

It is rare that a tourism minister has experience as a practioner. In the UK tourism ministers have a habit of occupying the post of up to two years before being kicked out or up. They say and do what they are told. No UK tourism minisiter has made the cabinet let alone made it to being prime minister.

This may not be the case in Australia where the new prime minister, Scott Morrison, has experience of running both the tourist organisation in both New Zealand and Australia. In fact he ran foul (so some say) of the support of the then Australian tourism minister despite the fact that she has supported the contentious strapline that Morrison wanted to use to promote Australia.

In New Zealand under his watch, the promotion of the country was given a new strapline, one that is still in use today. “100% Pure New Zealand” still appears on the website although Morrison left Tourism New Zealand in 2000. It is rare for a promotional line to last for more than five years let alone eighteen.

Scott Morrison Pm of Australia and ex tourism professional. Image David Foote-AUSPIC/DPS

In 2004 he became the boss of Tourism Australia where another memorable headline was used. To promote Australia, he approved and actively supported (as did the then tourism minister) the slogan “So where the bloody hell are you?” Causing controversy, it was banned for a while in the UK and provoked a lot of comment around the world  But it got headlines and gave a different image of Australia which had too often placed kangaroos on beaches and cuddly koalas in the arms of tourists. There is still argument, a decade later, about whether it was worth the money.

On Morrison’s own website he makes no mention of his tourism credentials just talks of his parliamentary career and the word “tourism” does not appear in his biography.

Although Morrison has farmed the tourism brief out to another minister wouldn’t it be natural for a specialist to keep a close eye on how the country is promoted? The new tourism minister site in the senate, the upper house, and whilst the political system is slightly different to the UK who will speak for tourism in the more important lower house?

Will he encourage some new thinking over the current Australia” promotion? If he does, given his background it could be quite an interesting time to be part of Australia’s tourism ambitions.

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