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Tourism Advisory Forum 8 March 2022

Venue: National Convention Centre, Canberra


Professor Peter Collignon Infectious diseases expert

James Goodwin CEO Australia Airports Association

Leigh Gordan AO CSM Royal Australian Mint


Professor Peter Collignon AM Infectious Diseases Expert

Prof Peter Collignon 8 March 2022
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Professor Collignon began by discussing various international responses to the pandemic. Statistics showed that Australia achieved outstandingly low infection and death rates compared to the US, Canada, Brazil, and other European countries. Australia has experienced less than expected deaths for the past two years, likely due to the limited spread other diseases during lockdown and restriction periods. He addressed the potential need for further restrictions during winter if case numbers increase. However, lockdowns would be an unnecessary precaution. All statements made by Professor Collignon are his own opinion and not of any organisation.

Professor Collignon discussed the following points regarding COVID-19 in Australia:

  • A healthy 30-year-old is more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident than from COVID-19.

  • The available vaccines are good, but not as effective as experts hoped against catching the disease.

  • Vaccines may offer 30% protection against catching the Omicron variant.

  • Vaccines may provide 90% protection against going to hospital and 95% against death.

  • Vaccines provide a 50% less chance of spreading the disease.

  • Before vaccines were available COVID-19 was 20 to 30 times the mortality rate of the influenza virus. This dropped to 2 to 3 times higher after vaccines became available.

  • For those over the age of 65 the 2nd dose of the vaccine provides an 8 times lower chance of hospitalisation. The 3rd dose provides a 15 times lower chance of hospitalisation from COVID-19.

  • Vaccines are likely to protect against any future variants.

Professor Collignon discussed the following points regarding the spread of COVID-19:

  • Eye protection offers an additional 50% protection against COVID-19.

  • The disease mainly spreads through the air as droplets and enters the nose and eyes.

  • There may be an increase in case numbers in winter.

  • Mortality rates and hospitalisation will decrease with time.

  • Locking down states is unnecessary at this point in the pandemic.

  • Mask mandates will most likely disappear in the future.

Answering a question regarding over cautious travellers, Professor Collignon claimed travellers have a greater fear of restrictions and what will happen to them rather than the virus itself.


James Goodwin CEO Australian Airports Association

Australian Airports Association 8 March 2022
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Mr Goodwin discussed the importance of transitioning from a ‘COVID safe’ mentality to a ‘COVID confident’ environment and increasing traveller confidence in tourism. Re-opening the boarders was an important milestone, but it is essential that Australia attracts international airlines into their airports. Australia has lost half the number of airlines flying into the country pre-COVID. Mr Goodwin claimed that airlines see too much boarder uncertainty to increase flights to Australian destinations. He also outlined the importance of re-attracting airport staff to airports who may have left the industry over the past two years.

Mr Goodwin discussed the following points regarding air travel in Australia:

  • Canberra Airport will not receive any direct international flights in the near future.

  • 30% of domestic airline passengers are international tourists.

  • It is important for the ACT that their restrictions are in line with NSW and VIC to encourage international and domestic travellers into Canberra.

  • 29% of travellers said they would avoid flying in the future because of concerns that the aviation industry isn’t doing enough to offset its carbon footprint.

  • Australian Airports Association has launched a campaign called “no more carry on” because of an increase in unruly and disruptive passenger behaviour.

  • The financial assistance from the federal government to the airline sector has ended.

Survey results from the Australian Airports Association recorded the following key data points:

  • 50% of recent travel has been to visit family and friends.

  • 44% of the survey population were booking holidays in less than 2 weeks.

  • There is significant interest for holidays in late 2022.

  • Around 3 in 4 households who have increased savings during the pandemic plan to use these funds on travel.

Canberra Airport is now flying to more destinations than ever before with 7 airlines. New routes include:

  • Darwin

  • Sunshine Coast

  • Newcastle

  • Ballina Byron

  • Port Macquarie

  • Hobart

  • Cairns


Leigh Gordon AO, CSM CEO Royal Australian Mint

While the Royal Australian Mint predominantly focuses on coin making, the organisation consists of a large and diverse workforce of around 250 employees. Mr Gordon highlighted the importance of coins and cash to the Australian economy in crisis situations and pandemics i.e., COVID-19 and the recent Queensland floods. He also discussed a recent increase in demand for collectable coins.

Mr Gordon recognised the Royal Australian Mint’s deficiencies compared to other cultural institutions in Australia. Funding will be used to rebrand the mint, including an upgrade to the gallery facility, and a focus of integrating technology into the Mint’s experience. The Mint also aims to become an individual experience rather than a guided tour experience. The upgrade will be accessible and inclusive of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Royal Australian Mint has produced 12 million “Donation dollar” coins that are active circulating currency. The coin has won design awards and is a world first initiative. The Mint aims to produce 25 million of these coins, one for each member of the population.

Mr Gordon outlined the following points regarding the Royal Australian Mint as a tourist destination:

  • 350,000 annual visitors (pre-covid)

  • 60,000 students visit each year (pre-covid)

  • Winner of the cultural tourism award 2021 Canberra Region Tourism Awards

  • Number 5 on trip advisor in Canberra

  • Made 175.6 million circulating coins that went to banks in 2020-2021

  • Commonwealth listed heritage site

  • The Mint estimates rebranding and upgrades will be complete by 2024


The next Tourism Advisory Forum will be on Thursday April 7 at the National Convention Centre. Subscribe to get alerts about forum events.


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