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Australia Dire warning on future of tourism industry

02:05  19 january  2021
02:05  19 january  2021 Source:   9news.com.au

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The tourism sector estimates 400,000 jobs might go when JobKeeper ends, with the construction industry tipping similar job losses. Tourism operators say they will struggle to survive unless government support is extended past the end of September. Peak bodies for the industries — two of Australia's largest employers — are warning of a potential 800,000 job losses without further support from governments and an extension of the JobKeeper wage subsidy beyond its planned September expiry.

There are calls for more Federal Government support for the tourism industry amid predictions travel is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until after a vaccine is rolled out across Australia.

a person holding a bottle: The Federal Government said it is too early to ease international border controls until the global effect of vaccines is established. © Getty The Federal Government said it is too early to ease international border controls until the global effect of vaccines is established.

Health Department Secretary Brendan Murphy warned yesterday it is unlikely there will be a return to widespread overseas travel this year.

He said it is not yet known how effective the new vaccines will be in stemming the virus spread and international border closures should stay in the months ahead, with the Australian rollout scheduled to start next month.

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READ MORE: Dire warning on future of tourism industry . "A strong tourism sector is critical to the recovery of the national economy and the Government needs to support our industry over the next 12 months so that we can play our part in the rebuilding of Australia's bottom line. "On behalf of tourism operators across the country, TTF urges the Federal and State Governments to work together with industry and implement a simple set of uniform rules that allow Australians to undertake domestic travel."

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The dire outlook has prompted the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) calling for a JobKeeper style wage support programme for the industry, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

It is concerned domestic tourism cannot fill the void left by the halt in international visitors.

TTF Chief Executive Margy Osmond told Today that tourism was highly exposed to international border restrictions.

"We're going to need a higher level of support. We're an industry that is uniquely affected by what happens with borders.

"We can't recover as an industry until international borders open and we won't survive as an industry unless the issues around state borders are sorted out."

Ms Osmond also said a spike in domestic tourism will not offset the halt in overseas visitors and their spending power.

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"If you took a Chinese traveller, their average spend here in Australia is $8500 while they're here. Your average Aussie probably spends about $1500."

She also said domestic tourism was only thriving in patches of the country and border restrictions should be eased by state governments.

"We can probably get by if we do have unfettered domestic travel. But that's not what's happened at the moment. And the uncertainty around it is wrecking confidence and making people reluctant to book trips."

Ms Osmond said the industry would need a "pay-packet support exercise" to ride out the crisis. She said the solution could be similar to the JobKeeper wage subsidy, which is due to cease at the end of March.

"At the very least we are going to need an extension of JobKeeper, or a version of it."

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“It is imperative that we rebuild the tourism sector,” Mr. Guterres said, in order for it to “regain its position as a provider of decent jobs, stable incomes and the protection of our cultural and natural heritage.” The UN Secretary-General stressed tourism ’s role as one of the most important economic sectors Due to restrictions imposed in March when the coronavirus started spreading rapidly around the world, international travel came to a screeching halt in April and May, resulting in international tourist arrivals that trailed last year’s total by almost 60 percent through the first five months of 2020.

With so much unknown about tourism 's future , there's a battle raging within the industry about whether this could end up changing tourism forever -- possibly even for the better. Some, like Barnett, think that eventually things will go back to normal. "If you do things right, where you get this idea of tourism being based upon this idea of fairness, hospitality, respect and good interactions, everybody benefits from it because then you feel welcomed as a tourist ." She wants to see tourism that's slower and more thoughtful -- tourism that doesn't just benefit the traveler, but also the local economies and

"But I think the critical thing is there is going to have to be a sort of systemic and strategic thought process on what it will take to keep the industry afloat. Or otherwise to be perfectly frank with you, this time next year we won't have much of a tourism industry left."

Shadow Minister Bill Shorten told Today that JobKeeper should be extended for the tourism industry.

"I think we are going to have to help bail out the travel agents. I would keep the JobKeeper going there.

"If the borders can't open they are still affected but the travel agent, the mums and dad businesses in the high street of the cities and bush I think we should give them a hand."

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison held a virtual meeting with representatives of foreign governments to discuss the global vaccine rollout.

Mr Morrison was scheduled to speak with representatives of Austria, Israel, Greece, Denmark the Czech Republic and Norway overnight.

The vaccine rollout in Norway - where 30 elderly people died after receiving the Pfizer jab - is of particular interest to the Federal Government because Australia has bought 10 million doses of that vaccine.

Treasurer rejects JobKeeper extension for struggling tourism sector .
Instead, the states should "put their hands in their pockets" and spend more to help businesses, he said. "Our federal economic support has delivered more than three times what the Palaszczuk government has committed to," Mr Frydenberg told Today."We'd welcome the states putting their hands in their pockets and spending a little bit more in their own states as part of the economic recovery but, of course, when it comes to the tourism sector, I recognise they've been doing it tough and will continue to monitor that situation very closely.

usr: 0
This is interesting!