“the tourism industry is 10,000 people strong and Ken Bacon should be taken away from it” [Rene Hidding, 18/3/05]

During the public and parliamentary debate over lame duck Tourism Minister Ken Bacon, Rene Hidding has managed to lay a couple of rare gloves on the embattled Tasmanian Government.

But I’m wondering what the Tourism industry thinks of Rene’s repeated claims that their industry is “10,000 people strong”. Ten thousand Rene? I think you’ll find that’s the oft-repeated but still unproven forest industry job figure.

In fact, Tasmania’s tourism industry added 4000 new employees alone in 2003 and in 2004 the industry directly employed 24,000 people.

Note the “directly” – no bullshit “indirect” job numbers here – all of those people are employed solely in Tasmania’s tourism industry. For those interested (I’m not), the indirect employment figure is 16,000.

Maybe the Tourism Council could add Rene to the list of those requiring extra briefings on the ins-and-outs of the tourism industry. I reckon Tourism Minister Bacon would enjoy the company.