Tourism support will fall short without open borders

The single most important outcome for the tourism, hospitality and accommodation industries after tonight’s Federal Budget is a commitment to reopening Australia.

“It is vital for the Government to begin a staged opening as soon as possible, given the stimulus measures announced tonight. Businesses need certainty and this is especially important after state border lockdowns battered the sector in 2020-21. The sector hinges on a firm commitment to international restart, from generating demand to accessing skills,’ Australian Chamber-Tourism Chair, John Hart said.

“We welcome the $94.6 million extension to the Zoos and Aquariums package and the Consumer Travel Support Program and acknowledge the much-needed funding provided to Tourism Australia to continue to undertake their important work on the international and domestic campaign activity. Holiday Here This Year is vital to the survival of tourism operators when our international borders still remain shut, aside from New Zealand. Tourism Australia’s funding also supports initiatives such as the Business Events Grants program that are important to future demand generation,” Mr Hart said.

“While these measures are needed, this support will fall short without a plan to open Australia.

“It is important to note that parts of the sector unable to pivot to domestic tourism still require support until the impact of international visitation starts trickling back in.

“With the traditional seasonal workforce of working holidaymakers and international students unavailable to fill the workforce gap, the sector desperately needs a workforce pipeline to enable recovery and eventually international reopening. The skills package announced tonight is welcome and will create opportunities for those looking to retrain and recruit skilled staff in the tourism, hospitality and accommodation sector.

“In addition to uncapping international student working hours which will tide many businesses in the sector through a very tight labour market, the sector also needs access to skilled migrants to fill critical experienced roles.

“We look forward to working with the Government on our international reopening plan which outlines the four stages of international reopening based on vaccination status and low, medium and high-risk countries.”

John Hart | Executive Chair, Australian Chamber – Tourism | +61 407 554 878

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