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How about extra public holidays to help spur domestic tourism?

May 20, 2020 Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

A proposal to create additional public holidays – giving people extra time to travel to regions, spend money on local attractions and help kickstart the domestic tourism economy – may be controversial but it could help.

The proposal has surfaced in New Zealand and parallels with Australia are apparent.

The New Zealand Government has confirmed it is giving “active consideration” to additional holidays to allow Kiwis to visit tourism attractions in New Zealand and help lift the country out of Covid-19 lockdown doldrums. After a stringent lockdown, New Zealand now appears to be free of the coronavirus – possibly the first country in the world to have eliminated it.

NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said yesterday the government was giving “active consideration” to creating extra holidays to stimulate the country’s embattled tourism sector.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief Chris Roberts welcomed Ardern’s remarks, telling Kiwi media outlet Stuff.co.nz: “There’s agreement we need to support domestic tourism, it’s all we have for the time being and we need to be as imaginative as possible, more than a glitzy marketing campaign.”

Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) is the only independent, private sector organisation representing all sectors of New Zealand’s tourism industry.

The prospect of an extra holiday may ring hollow to those who have recently lost their jobs, though employees who have had to use up all their accrued leave might welcome an extra paid break later in the year.

In Australia, holiday travel within states will soon become possible. New South Wales is gearing up for it from 1 June 2020.

Unlike Australia, New Zealand has no state borders. Some of Australia’s state borders have stayed closed since shortly after the coronavirus pandemic broke out. The borders remain shut, to the despair of some in the tourism industry.

More visitors needed

Australia’s Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham yesterday urged state and territory governments to open borders to domestic holidaymakers as soon as it’s safe.  Queensland plans to keep its borders closed to southern states until at least September. Western Australia and South Australia may keep borders shut for months as well.

Australians are planning to flock to Queensland for holidays in the next few months once leisure travel resumes, according to a national survey of over 1500 people commissioned by the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF).

Birmingham encouraged states and territories with border controls in place to look at reopening their borders, provided transmission of Covid-19 remains very low.

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham is urging Australian states to reopen borders as soon as safe

Travel between Australia and New Zealand will also resume, eventually, but before that Australia wants to help its domestic tourism sector recover from the impact of bushfires and then pandemic restrictions. Opening of state borders will help.

The economic impact of the coronavirus has hit tourism especially hard. Tourism employs (or employed) one in 13 Australians. Unemployment in the tourism industry worldwide has reached, on some estimates, 72%.

That greatly exceeds the 25.5% unemployment rate at the height of the Great Depression of the 1930s – though the 1930s figure was across the board, not just one sector.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. bruce weston says:

    wow just what the industry needs – more $55 an hour holidays hahaha but sorry to correct you my friend but please don’t propagate this 25% unemployment LIE my staff are on both jobseeker and jobkeeper and in both instances they are getting MORE than they earned as casuals , even saying ‘they dont have to work ‘ any hours at all to get this money ‘ It will be a nightmare to get these people back to their original work hours when all this free money runs out THEY ARE NOT COUNTED AS UNEMPLOYED Real Unemployment has only gone up minutely Just try and get someone to work for a few hours now – they laugh at you

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