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As federal budget nears, tourism industry calls for $50 million

September 28, 2020 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A $50 million Covid-safe campaign is needed urgently, to restore traveller confidence in Australia’s ailing tourism industry as state borders slowly begin to open, according to a leading industry lobby group.

The Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) has called on the Federal Government to fund a $50 million Covid-safe domestic travel campaign to restore confidence in one of the nation’s super-growth industries, currently struggling in the face of a pandemic which has brought international tourism to its knees.

The $50 million fund is a key recommendation in the TCF’s federal budget submission.

The TCF is also pressing for the JobKeeper program to be extended for tourism employers for a further six months. Economic modelling completed by Stafford Strategy for TTF indicates about 300,000 more jobs could be lost when the current support expires in March 2021.

TTF chief executive Margy Osmond says the industry, both domestic and international, has been losing almost $10 billion a month since enforced Covid-19 lockdowns came into place – and all this coming off the back of a catastrophic bushfire season that decimated tourism-reliant destinations across the country.

“While our State borders are gradually starting to reopen and people have either started to or are making plans to travel, any uptick in domestic tourism will not be sufficient to fill the $4 billion black hole left by no international travel.

The Three Sisters, Blue Mountains. Photo © Peter Needham

“The industry faces another major hurdle – the reluctance of many Australians to travel, particularly by plane, threatening the ongoing survival of the nation’s critical aviation industry and inhibiting a full-scale recovery in the domestic market,” Osmond said.

“Our research over the past six months has found that when Australians are travelling, they are largely choosing to use their own cars and are choosing destinations within four hours driving distance of their homes.

“We really need to now focus on all the different Covid-safe initiatives developed by our industry in consultation with Governments and to get the message out there that it is safe to take to the skies and travel interstate as border restrictions ease.

“And the corporate travel market will also form a vital part of the recovery particularly for aviation and accommodation and employers will also need to feel confident in allowing staff to recommence travel.”

TTF is recommending the $50 million campaign be funded from the uncommitted portion of the $1 billion tourism focused Covid-19 Relief and Recovery Fund announced earlier this year. This means no additional impact on the Budget bottom line and could be fast-tracked.

Other measures recommended in the October 6 Federal Budget from TTF include sustainable funding for Tourism Australia of at least $200 million annually over the next four years to immediately reboot domestic tourism over the short term and plan well ahead for the return of international tourism, over the longer term.

An additional $100 million support package for Australia’s international aviation carriers will assist with rebuilding their global network and city pairs including fast-tracking the Trans-Tasman Bubble and other priority international travel bubbles, as would a wider $50 million Aviation Restoration Fund to restore additional route capacity.

 

Edited by Peter Needham

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