The tourism industry is again licking its wounds following the decision not to replace Nick Sherry as assistant tourism minister, a move which came just days after fiery clashes at a National Tourism Alliance meeting between government and industry bodies.
The meeting, attended by a number of organistions including the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF), Australia Tourism Export Council (ATEC) and government officials, was described by sources as “tempestuous”.
One government official was even reduced to tears as tempers boiled over during a frank discussion about the government’s 2020 vision.
The TTF, while “welcoming” the release of the updated 2020 plan last week, argued that a focus on 2012 is more pressing at a time when “ a fifth Queensland island [Lindeman] is about to put up the closed sign”.
Participants declined to comment on the content of the meeting but it is understood the TTF forcefully reiterated its views during the NTA meeting.
“There were fireworks,” a source told Travel Today.
The loss of Sherry meanwhile, who stepped down from the front bench and will leave parliament at the next election, is also regarded as a blow for an industry which already feels unloved by government.
A source told Travel Today: “People are not happy that Nick has not being replaced. Tourism will now be represented part time by a minister [Martin Ferguson] for whom tourism is not his priority.”