Tuesday, April 15, 2003
John Howard looks on the bright side of SARS.
Mr Howard said fewer people were travelling overseas due to fears surrounding SARS and the scare was having a "big effect on the airlines and those parts of the (tourism) industry that cater for overseas travellers".
"While ever the SARS scare is on, people won't travel," he told Sydney radio 2GB.
But he added the impact of the scare in Australia was "differential".
"There are some parts of the Australian domestic tourism industry that are doing better than ever before," he said. "I'm not saying that's universal but ...(when) people stay home, it can often be a boon."
Visiting Tasmania recently, Mr Howard said "every single person in the tourist industry told me there that that state is experiencing the
best boom conditions for tourism it's ever had".
The people in the article on Chinatown I linked to yesterday might dispute the tourism benefits of SARS. For once I find myself agreeing with Simon Crean:
"For the prime minister to try to claim a tragedy like SARS has a silver lining for Australia is grossly insensitive and a potential PR (public relations) disaster in the region," Mr Crean said in a statement.
"His distasteful remark is further compounded by the fact his claims are just plain wrong. SARS is not a boon for Australia.
"Mr Howard should explain to the 1000 Qantas staff who have lost their jobs, partly as a result of SARS-induced tourism collapse, how they have benefited from the disease."