The post-JobKeeper support package announced today will help to salvage 13 key tourism regions but falls short of what is needed to save many flailing tourism, accommodation and hospitality businesses.
“This narrowly targeted package is disenfranchising for many hard-working operators in the tourism industry whose plight is being ignored,” John Hart, Executive Chair of Australian Chamber – Tourism said.
“We have identified three areas where the package fails to deliver:
- It fails to support the CBDs, especially Sydney and Melbourne
- It fails to provide immediate cash support to distributors unable to wait for the loans to kick in
- It does not set out a roadmap to open the country to international visitors
“The package also fails to acknowledge that up until the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism industry was poised for enormous growth.
“Two weeks ago, the Government acknowledged that a substantial number of businesses still more than 50 per cent down are in Sydney and Melbourne yet this package does not do anything for them.
“As the gateways for international visitation, the CBDs have really taken a huge hit from the closed border. They have been bleeding to the tune of over $22 billion for 12 months now and have been only kept alive by JobKeeper. The hotels will not pick up even when office workers start coming back, they need tourists and, in particular, international tourists.
“Sydney alone pre-COVID benefited from international tourism expenditure of over $19 Billion.”
Tourism Restart Taskforce chair Jeremy Johnson said the regional support was welcomed but would not assist in long term recovery.
“The discount airfares will do nothing for tour operators, travel agents and wholesalers that we need to have in place for when we want to turn international tourism back on. These businesses need more than loans, they have no capacity to repay and they don’t know when they can start taking bookings again,” Mr Johnson said.
“What is really important is a runway back to international visitation both inbound and outbound.
“The Taskforce has put forward a timetable, but Government needs to buy into the industry vision and work with us to get tourists moving again. We haven’t been able to get a two-way bubble with New Zealand off the ground let alone other safe Countries.
“We have all of the elements of the supply chain as part of the Chamber, we’re ready to go, it’s in our National interest now to get international visitors back.”
The Australian Chamber – Tourism, the peak national body for tourism organisations, launched the Tourism Restart Taskforce in 2020 to help restart the sector following the COVID-19 global pandemic.
John Hart | Executive Chair, Australian Chamber – Tourism | +61 407 554 878