Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Australia’s $45 billion export tourism Industry at risk without JobKeeper replacement

Australia’s $45 billion export tourism Industry at risk without JobKeeper replacement
February 18, 2021

According to the Australian Tourism Export Council, while some tourism businesses across Australia have seen an increase in revenues from domestic visitors, many regional and remote tourism businesses and supply chain distributors with a dependency on international markets remain on a knife edge.

Australia has traditionally had around 200 Inbound tour operators (ITOs) of varying sizes which support tourism businesses to connect with around 50 international markets.

Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) Managing Director Peter Shelley notes that without them we are likely to see the decimation of the Australian inbound travel distribution ecosystem.

Shelley highlights “ITOs have been the backbone of the export tourism industry, providing the conduit for millions of visitors coming to Australia each year.

“With the end of JobKeeper, international borders closed and no further support, 81% of ITO businesses will close and that will destroy Australia’s ability to quickly get back in the game once borders reopen.

“Thousands of Australian businesses rely on the economic activity delivered by international visitors and around half of those visitors have been delivered though international retail travel agents serviced by Australian based ITOs - we simply can't afford to lose their expertise, connections and experience.”

Shelley adds “Australian based ITO businesses are the ‘on-the-ground’ network that understand the destination, they have established relationships with thousands of local tourism products and experiences from which they create tailored travel itineraries for international visitors.

“These are specialist businesses which have established unique commercial connections with travel wholesalers in our largest inbound markets around the world over half a century.

“The recovery of inbound tourism will be driven by international travellers booking with retail travel agents who will provide security around booking flexibility and deposits, manage changes to travel arrangements if required and above all, provide guidance on COVIDSafe travel.

“Without a strong Australian ITO network, travel retailers will simply direct their travellers to other destinations which are easier to book and service, leaving Australia and thousands of tourism businesses high and dry.

“While we are heartened to see Australians travelling domestically, domestic tourism spend will never replace the billions of dollars in export revenue delivered by international visitors, so it would be short sighted to rely on this current domestic enthusiasm to underpin the long term viability of our industry.

“Securing the future of a few hundred businesses and those that are the ‘connectors’ with international travellers, will be critical to our recovery and therefore an important short term investment in the future of our inbound tourism sector which will deliver enormous returns over future years.”

Image: South Australia Barossa Valley Ballooning

Related Articles

1st February 2021 - Without JobKeeper Australian tourism businesses face ‘annihilation’

21st December 2020 - ATEC welcomes Dan Tehan as Australia’s new Federal Tourism Minister

24th November 2020 - ATEC to provide COVID Ready training for New Zealand based tourism businesses

18th November 2020 - ATEC to deliver its annual Meeting Place program as a hybrid event in 2020

10th November 2020 - ATEC highlights that tourism exporters need JobKeeper support until international borders reopen

19th October 2020 - ATEC expands its program supporting Australian tourism exporters to attract domestic visitors

7th October 2020 - ATEC welcomes Federal Budget support for tourism industry

27th September 2020 - ATEC concerned over lack of government funding to support inbound tour operators

21st September 2020 - ATEC aligns with WTTC Safe Travel protocols  

23rd June 2020 - ATEC warns domestic travel not a simple fix for Australia’s tourism industry

13th May 2020 - ATEC highlights the harsh reality of a tourism industry in crisis

30th April 2020 - ATEC part of new Tourism Restart Taskforce to strengthen industry COVID-19 response

22nd April 2020 - ATEC considers diverse and competitive airlines to be critical to Australian tourism

6th March 2020 - ATEC highlights the ongoing threat of Coronavirus to export tourism industry

2nd March 2020 - ATEC remembers tourism innovator James Kwan

17th January 2020 - ATEC emphasises the need for positive messages to international tourists

28th November 2019 - ATEC recognises outstanding industry achievements for 2019

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


Quayclean are a national cleaning and waste services partner with proven results in the understanding and delivery of cleaning needs and challenges faced by facilities including; major venues and…

read more

Aquatics / Hospitality / Surfaces / Venues



We are the leading providers of kids fun multi-sports programs for Sport and Recreation Centres. Programs cover twelve common sports as well as Gross Motor Skill Development and suit children from as…

read more

Fitness / Play / Recreation / Sport / Wellness



Track. Engage. Retain GreeneDesk is a suite of cloud based software solutions helping health clubs, leisure centres and swim schools to effectively track progression, improve customer engagement and…

read more

Aquatics / Billing / Education / Fitness / Technology


Yellowbox Lockers

Yellowbox is an Australian technology company that has developed smart locker technology operated through an app with a focus on experience for users and facility managers. Found at Beaches, Aquatic…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Entertainment / Retail / Security


iDwala Pty Ltd

iDwala is the Community Sports Surface Specialist offering the highest quality designs and technical expertise to Councils, Schools and Sporting Clubs looking to create sporting…

read more

Consultants / Design / Recreation / Sport / Surfaces



Clubware’s online gym software is not your run of the mill management system. It has been carefully designed to incorporate all the elements that a fitness club would need. How did we do that?…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Recreation


Felton Industries

Felton Industries is Australia’s leading designer, manufacturer and supplier of quality outdoor furniture and has been supplying premium seating solutions for all sporting, commercial, community…

read more

Parks / Play / Recreation / Sport / Venues


@leisure Planners

@leisure is a team of experienced leisure, aquatic and sports facility managers and planners, with market modelling, sports management, recreation planning, business and GIS qualifications. We have…

read more



get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business