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Tourism bodies cite thousands of lost jobs following end of JobKeeper
Industry bodies the Australian Tourism Industry Council and Tourism Council WA have today called for urgent support for tourism businesses that are shedding staff and at risk of closure due to JobKeeper ceasing during ongoing border closures and traveller uncertainty.
ATIC has advised that with the end of JobKeeper more than one in three tourism businesses are cutting staff and downsizing with many forced to close because of ongoing low consumer confidence in travel.
ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway explained “38% of Australian tourism businesses have told us they are cutting jobs and reducing workforce hours to stay viable with the ending of JobKeeper. “60% of tourism enterprises are in a weaker position since COVID-19, 47% remain open but have fewer staff, and travel bookings and business activity are nationally down 25% at March end.
“As predicted by Federal Treasury, the end of JobKeeper is having a major impact on exposed sectors. This includes Australian tourism and the tens of thousands of at-risk jobs connected to it.
“Just released Federal tourism figures is proof. Australia’s tourism industry lost an astonishing $44 billion in domestic visitor spending in year 2020 plus $34 billion in international visitor losses.
“With a workforce peak of around 1 million before the virus, our sector has lost over 185,000 direct and indirect jobs through the pandemic and is now the fastest falling employment category.
“The situation facing struggling tourism enterprises in our capital cities, where the bulk of these businesses exist, will see worsening levels of job losses and inevitable business closures.
“Operators of tours and experiences across Australia, many by small family businesses, remain heavily impacted by hard border restrictions and consumer confidence in travel hasn’t returned. “This is a critical period for Australian tourism. Tourism businesses no longer have the protection of JobKeeper or a rapid national vaccine rollout to help rebuild confidence in travel.”
In Western Australia, Tourism Council WA’s latest industry survey reveals 29% of tourism businesses are now reducing staffing levels due to the end of JobKeeper - losses is in addition to the 6,100 jobs already lost across the industry in 2020 as identified by Tourism Research Australia’s latest State Tourism Satellite Account.
Stating that the tourism industry remained at risk of losing critical businesses and staff due to ongoing border closures and consumer uncertainty, Tourism Council WA Chief Executive, Evan Hall stated “during March, business activity across the industry declined by 20%, according to our latest survey of tourism businesses.
“Now that JobKeeper has come to an end, many businesses have started shedding staff and many are at risk of shutting their doors. Tourism to WA is down, but businesses and jobs are not protected by either JobKeeper or the national vaccine rollout.
“Pairing that with the recent interstate border closure with Queensland and ongoing consumer uncertainty in interstate travel, we expect thousands of jobs to be lost across the industry.”
As the gateway for interstate visitors, Perth businesses and jobs have been the hardest hit in the stated, with Hall adding “everyone is leaving Perth for the regions, but no one is visiting Perth from interstate or overseas.
“We are calling on the Federal Government to provide discount flights to Perth as it has done for other struggling cities such as Darwin, Adelaide, and Hobart.”
Westaway said ATIC had three demands for the Federal Government including more funding for discount flights, targeted support for affected tourism businesses and a faster vaccine rollout.
He demanded “the Morrison Government must invest more in domestic discount air seats, which are marketable to all destinations including every capital city, to bring confidence to interstate travel.
“All capitals and our entire domestic flight network need to be eligible for discount fares through the Government’s Tourism Aviation Network Support Program to help reset our industry.
“Ongoing border restrictions require further targeted federal financial assistance to still struggling tourism businesses until the risks of the virus outbreak are reduced by the vaccine rollout.
“Australia’s national COVID-19 vaccine rollout must be sped up. We urge for a greater focus on immediately vaccinating key workers including front-line health, hotel quarantine and at airports.
“We repeat the call for national consistency across Federal and State Governments to get the national vaccine rollout efficiently moving and a unified response to declared virus hotpots.”
Hall also called on both the Federal and State Governments to put programs in place to protect and support the industry, going on to say “it is critical that the Federal government protects the industry by providing direct financial support to struggling tourism businesses until the vaccine rollout is complete.
“We urge the State Government and Tourism WA to focus on voucher programs and marketing initiatives to target businesses that are struggling due to interstate border closures."
Images: Perth, which no one is visiting from interstate or overseas according to Tourism Council WA Chief Executive, Evan Hall (top, credit; Keith Lightbody) and ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway (below).
31st March 2021 - Ecotourism Australia calls for return of JobKeeper to those who need it
28th March 2021 - Industry sectors set for job losses as JobKeeper ends
19th March 2021 - Australian tourism adds 58,000 jobs since June 2020
18th March 2021 - Tourism sector unites for new Sunshine Coast marketing campaign
26th February 2021 - $40 million funding support announced for Indigenous Tourism
23rd February 2021 - AFTA spotlights the need for JobKeeper extension for the tourism industry
17th February 2021 - VTIC fear loss of jobs in Victoria tourism and events without further support
12th February 2021 - Seek jobs website shows rise in demand for hospitality and tourism staff
11th February 2021 - Tourism Australia launches new campaign to boost business events across Australia
1st February 2021 - Without JobKeeper Australian tourism businesses face ‘annihilation’
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