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Tourism leaders look for Federal rescue package amid Coronavirus fears

Tourism leaders look for Federal rescue package amid Coronavirus fears
March 6, 2020

Industry groups including the Australian Tourism Industry Council and Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) are calling on the Federal Government to provide more funding to help turnaround a calamitous drop in tourism numbers following the Coronavirus outbreak.

Travel bans and ongoing health fears have seen airline bookings to Australia fall dramatically, with bookings from the UK dropping by around 50% in the past month, compared to the same time last year.

The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) has today expressed its fears that the tourism industry is being threatened with substantial job losses and business closures due to the downturn in overseas arrival while Tourism Research Australia (TRA) has today released its State of the Industry 2018/19 Report, highlighting the importance of the tourism industry to Australia’s economy, and amplifying the crucial need for support from all levels of Government to recover from the devastating bushfire and Coronavirus crises.

Speaking to the Senate economic committee yesterday, Federal Department of Treasury Secretary Dr Steven Kennedy said the Coronavirus could cut “at least” 0.5 percentage points from the nation’s economic growth in the March quarter. This comes on top of the 0.2% slowdown on growth from this summer’s bushfires.

The Federal Government this week added South Korean to its travel ban list that includes China and Iran. It also introduced restrictions for travellers from Italy that included enhanced screenings.

The tourism sector is calling on Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham to double the fund announced in the wake of the bushfire crisis to address the “unprecedented” hit to the industry.

Pledging that support will be forthcoming, Senator Birmingham advised “as the Prime Minister has made clear, more help is on the way as we carefully plan further responses to this crisis that are carefully targeted to help those most affected, seeking to save businesses and jobs.”

Queensland Tourism Industry Council Chief Executive, Daniel Gschwind said the Federal Government needed to match the $76 million funding allocated following the bushfires, telling the Guardian Australia “the coronavirus is having a devastating impact on our businesses, our staff and our communities.”

TRA’s State of the Industry 2018/19 Report does not cover the period impacted by bushfires and Coronavirus crises, reporting positive results for the year to 30th June 2019, with an increase in visitation, expenditure, employment and number of tourism businesses in Australia.

Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) Chief Executive Felicia Mariani said while the report does not encompass the recent period impacted by bushfires and Coronavirus, it is a strong reminder that tourism is a solid pillar for Australia’s economy.

Mariani advised “the figures speak for themselves. The industry has well and truly achieved its targets set in the (Victorian) Government’s 2020 Tourism Strategy, having now cracked over $146.4 billion in total tourism spend across Australia.

“We’ve seen 8.6 million international visitors who have spent close to $45 billion in our country, and while we are delighted by these numbers, we cannot forget that sadly this is what is currently at risk as Coronavirus takes hold globally.

“To put it simply, the sector needs all the help it can get to repair and rebuild. We already know that we aren’t going to see the same positive results in the coming quarter, but we need to work together to get back there.”

Images: Kakadu Cultural Tours (top, courtesy of Tourism Australia) and Chinese visitors on Victoria's Great Ocean Road (courtesy of Visit Victoria).

Related Articles

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

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25th February 2020 - New research highlights impact of Coronavirus and bushfires on Australian business

18th February 2020 - Tourism Australia’s Business Events enhances presence at AIME 2020

15th February 2020 - GlobalData considers the impact of Coronavirus on South East Asian tourism

13th February 2020 - ATIC calls for government support to counter Coronavirus impact on tourism industry

5th February 2020 - Tourism WA supports industry impacted by coronavirus

3rd February 2020 - Gold Coast tourism suffers $40 million dip due to Coronavirus and bushfires impact

28th January 2020 - Leading consultants suggest Coronavirus impact could deal significant blow to Australian economy

23rd January 2020 - Tourism Australia launches $20 million campaign to support bushfire affected industry

17th January 2020 - Latest international tourism data shows gains and losses

10th January 2020 - Tourism Australia looks to reassure visitors with information on bushfire impacts

13th September 2019 - Tourism Australia confirms Phillipa Harrison as new Managing Director

14th August 2019 - ATIC welcomes TRA’s record-breaking Australian tourism data

8th August 2019 - ATIC appoints tourism leader as Executive Director

21st April 2019 - Queensland Government aims to attract millions of Chinese tourists with new card payment scheme 

2nd April 2019 - Number of international visitors to Australia hits record high

12th November 2018 - QTIC shares details of five point plan to improve safety in Whitsunday waters

4th October 2018 - QTIC recognises industry innovation on World Tourism Day

2nd October 2017 - Chinese tourists changing their spending patterns

21st August 2017 - ATEC announces major new Chinese Tour Guide Training Project

9th September 2016 - Record 133 million Chinese tourists to travel overseas

8th February 2016 - Independent Chinese tourists looking beyond the big cities

31st January 2016 - Destination Australia Conference returns with Chinese tourism focus

13th November 2011 - Incoming tourism dip prompts calls for Federal tourism assistance


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