The Federal Government’s billion-dollar boost to tourism could be the firepower needed to assist beleaguered regions and businesses who are heavily reliant on the visitor dollar and already suffering a dramatic drop in travel and tourism revenue.
Australian Chamber – Tourism Executive Chair John Hart said the targeted funding from the COVID-10 stimulus package is an important first step in providing much needed assistance.
“It’s not looking great right now for a number of tourism-related industries. Some tourism regions have already seen revenues drop by 40 per cent or more because of the bushfires – while others have copped the double whammy of both bushfires and coronavirus.
“It’s likely jobs will have to go, but this package provides short term relief from the acute stress our tourism businesses are feeling.
“As the Government acknowledged in its statement today with ‘lower international students and tourism expenditure, the Coronavirus outbreak is expected to detract at least ½ of a percentage point from economic growth in Australia in the March quarter 2020. This is on top of the estimated detraction from growth from the bushfires of 0.2 percentage points across the December and March quarters.
“Tourism and hospitality businesses will also feel the brunt of any further moves to restrict travel and events in the coming weeks and months. They are facing an unprecedented challenge to survive. Cancellation of events, whether they’re large exhibitions or small meetings, will be a brutal blow to tourism and events businesses.
“In almost all cases it is impossible for tourism and hospitality businesses, such as restaurants, hotels and tour operators, to deliver services with employees working from home.
“Hopefully the cash injections will help, but we expect more will be needed as the crisis worsens.
“We note that plans and measures as part of the $1billion injection will be designed with input from industry and regional communities, and Australian Chamber-Tourism and its members, looks forward to working with Government on ensuring that the stimulus funds are most effectively targeted.
“We also welcome the announcement in support of retaining apprentices and trainees. It is critically important that we preserve the skills pipeline as once this crisis is behind us, tourism will need to respond quickly to pent up demand,” Mr Hart said.