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Australia’s export tourism industry asks for clarity on reopening plans
With Australia’s export tourism industry heading into its second year of border closures and with no end in sight, grassroots tourism businesses are asking the Federal Government to provide clarity on what it believes are the necessary parameters of reopening.
Recognising the importance of ensuring the Australian community remains safe, industry members from large multinational companies to small two-person tourism operations, are seeking a framework by which they can make decisions and plans for the future of their businesses.
Over the past month, The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) has visited its members across the country, hosting a series of industry Restart Roundtables as an important information gathering process which will help inform industry advocacy.
ATEC Managing Director Peter Shelley notes “the Restart Roundtables have provided us with some really raw and truthful feedback on how our tourism businesses are faring.
“As we move around the country we are seeing some clear patterns in the issues of concern and one of the main issues is defining our COVID exit strategy - people are asking, where is the plan?
“While many in our industry have invested in servicing the domestic tourism market in the interim, it is clear that this is a ‘stop-gap’ measure as they await the reopening of international borders. As domestic visitors simply do not stay as long or spend as much as international visitors, there is a strong need to establish clear framework for re-emergence.
“Tourism businesses across the country are looking to make decisions about their investments and in some instances, their future, and they desperately need clarity from the Government on what they see as being the key markers for reopening our borders.”
Shelley advised that over 300 representatives have engaged in the Restart Roundtables so far and with the roadshow to continue over the coming month for the remaining regions, so far the key issues the industry were defining include:
•International Border closures, how and when we will reopen, managing COVID and future international visitors, vaccination rates and which countries
•Support for tourism businesses who can and can't switch to domestic, new product development, loans, retaining large tourism assets, mental health and wellbeing
•Workforce issues including labour and skills, loss of industry talent, retention of staff and regional staff shortages
•Trade challenges including distribution, trade relationships and new domestic and international trading landscape, loss of product and secure payments
•Confidence in travel for both consumer and trade
In representing the industry’s needs to the Government, ATEC is advocating for a Reopening Framework via the hashtag #whereistheplan. ATEC will present its findings from the Restart Roundtables to government, along with recommendations in a final report later this month.
Image: Broome, Courtesy of Tourism Western Australia
27th April 2021 - ATEC tours state and regional branches to discuss restart strategy
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
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
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
4th October 2019 - ATEC launches program for WA tourism operators hosting Japanese visitors
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