Tourism sector calls for extra support as post-JobKeeper plan expected within days
The tourism industry has called on the federal government for extra support as Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says he will reveal in coming days his post-JobKeeper plan to support businesses through the coronavirus crisis.
According to new “heat map” research based on government data and compiled by Stafford Strategy for the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF), over 34 per cent of ABS-defined “Statistical Areas 2” across Australia are suffering a 40 per cent or greater loss of visitation over the year to end-September 2020.
In addition, the remaining sections of the country have also experienced significant visitor losses of between 40 per cent and 10 per cent, with this hit to the visitor economy being felt across every state and in both cities and regions.
TTF Australia chief executive Margy Osmond said that despite small pockets of visitor resurgence in some well-known locations, the heat map highlights almost every corner of Australia from Inner Melbourne to Broome and from South Australia to north Queensland is still reeling from the pain of this sharp and sustained visitor drop-off.
“The fact remains that despite some intrastate visitation slowly coming back, as state border closures or merely the threat of them continues to dominate the headlines, widespread consumer confidence and travel is at an all-time low,” Ms Osmond said.
“That is why as the vaccine is rolled out, TTF calls on the national cabinet to commit to put politics and state electioneering aside and commit to keeping state borders open once and for all.”
At a press conference in Cairns on Monday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he will reveal in a few days a plan to support businesses after the JobKeeper scheme ends amid uncertainty from industry sectors that are still struggling such as tourism.
“We signalled JobKeeper was ending and that was really important so businesses could make adjustments to those operations. Because some businesses will restructure. I’ve spoken to businesses that have already restructured. We can never make businesses whole. We have to be realistic about that,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“What we’ve sought to do is give businesses the best possibility to get to the other side, and of course, to keep their staff employed and that’s the objective behind the JobKeeper.
“It will be an ongoing challenge. None of these policies are set and forget. It is about continually re-evaluating the situation we’re in and making adjustments accordingly. The federal government has done the bulk of the heavy lifting. We’ll continue to provide support.”
Despite the lack of an announcement, Ms Osmond said she was confident that the TTF’s concerns and potential support options are being closely considered “at this critical juncture”.
“A year into this pandemic, we need both consistency among the state and territory governments and meaningful support from the federal government if we are to collectively survive 2021 and then recover beyond that,” she said.