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Bignell’s excuse beyond belief

The State Liberals are amazed that embattled Tourism Minister Leon Bignell is questioning the accuracy of an international visitor survey conducted by Tourism Research Australia showing the number of international visitors to South Australia in the 12 months ending June 2015 fell 1%.

The fall in visitor numbers corresponds with earlier statistics released by Tourism Research Australia showing a 6.8 per cent fall in international visitor expenditure for the year ending March 2015.

And Minister Bignell has repeatedly quoted Tourism Research Australia figures when they are favourable to the Labor Government.
“Disputing the accuracy of the figures is a desperate ploy from a desperate Minister who has been underseige over the size of his international travel bill,” said Shadow Minister for Tourism David Ridgway.

“Minister Bignell spent $150,000 on overseas travel whilst South Australia’s international tourist performance has gone backwards.

“The word out of many of South Australia’s tourism operators is that things have never been tougher and that fewer and fewer international tourists are making South Australia part of their itinerary.

“Minister Bignell’s abject failure at growing the number of international tourists visiting South Australia indicates the taxpayer isn’t getting value for money from the Minister’s international travel.

“The earlier survey showed South Australia was the worst performing Australian state for international visitor expenditure last year – international visitors spent 716,000 less nights in South Australia, resulting in a $50 million decline in visitor expenditure in our state.

“It showed that Australia’s international visitor expenditure grew by 10 per cent whilst South Australia’s fell by 6.8 per cent.

“It showed that on each measure of the survey – visitor numbers, visitor nights and visitor expenditure – South Australia was the only state to record a decline.”
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