Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s renewal today of plans for a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand, coupled with an uptick in the international arrival caps, provides much needed relief for business owners and workers in tourism who are desperate for good news.
“Australian Chamber Tourism and ACCI’s trade policy team have been working with Government for months to recommence safe flights between Australia and New Zealand,” Australian Chamber Tourism chair John Hart said.
“Whilst our initial travel bubble proposal (launched in June) was delayed due to the second wave of infections in Victoria, we’re delighted the Government has put plans back on the table.
“The bubble would provide up to an additional $3.6 billion economic benefit to Australia at a time when dollars are greatly needed and would mean thousands of Australian and New Zealand families would be able to reunite.
“Not only will safe travel with New Zealand bring tourism businesses much needed customers, but it will free up capacity in quarantine to allow more Australians to return home, and for other priority arrival passengers such as sponsored skilled migrants and international students to come into this country.”
The lifting of the caps will also have direct benefit to hotels in cities housing people in quarantine.
Sydney hotel occupancy is currently at 27 per cent on average, while Adelaide and Brisbane are 38 and 42 per cent respectively compared to figures around 80% last year.
“These pitiful rates are completely unsustainable, as is the fact that only 3500 international visitors arrived in June compared to almost 800,000 in June last year,” Mr Hart said.
“Furthermore, the impact of an 82 per cent drop in interstate travel on tourism has been devastating. In no way can intrastate tourism, which was also down 25 per cent in June, make up the difference. This situation means that opening the state borders remains the highest priority for tourism.
“Tourism needs all the good news it can get, and today is a good day on a very, very long road out.”