The architect of the controversial “So where the bloody hell are you?” tourism campaign has defended its performance.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd this week described the campaign as a “rolled gold disaster” which had failed to benefit the tourism industry.
Mr Rudd said the now-ended campaign was under review because the number of tourists from Japan, Germany and Britain, where the campaign was focused, had fallen.
Liberal MP Scott Morrison, the former director of Tourism Australia, told parliament that the aim had been to increase tourism spending, not numbers.
“The purpose of the ‘So where the bloody hell are you? campaign was to appeal to a type of visitor who would come, stay longer, spend more and travel further around the country,” Mr Morrison said.
That included backpackers as well as high-spending holiday makers, he said.
“And both of these (groups) produced major economic dividends for Australia.”
Mr Morrison said tourism spending had increased by $4.2 billion since the campaign launch in 2006.
“The new government has brought that campaign to an end and that is their prerogative, I look forward to seeing their efforts.”
Queensland Labor MP Jim Turnour disagreed.
“We can bleed on all we like about the ‘So where the bloody hell are you?’ campaign but you only have to go to tropical North Queensland and talk to tourism operators, or hear what the prime minister had to say,” he told parliament.
“That campaign was seen as a failure and the member for Cook (Morrison) has been responsible for that failure.”