A TICK FOR NEW TOURISM AND TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE BUT DEDICATED CAMPAIGN STILL NEEDED TO GIVE US CONFIDENCE TO TAKE TO THE SKIES
The nation’s peak body for the tourism and transport industries has welcomed the fast tracking of big-ticket road, rail and visitor amenity boosting infrastructure but said it remained critical the Federal Government fund a $50 million ‘COVID Safe Domestic Travel Campaign’ to restore traveller confidence to return to the skies.
The Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) acknowledged that while the industry had been pushing for the successful JobKeeper program to be extended, it would welcome new economy boosting measures such as wage subsidies for employers to bring young people back into the workforce. This will help tourism as a longstanding major employer of young workers.
“As these new support mechanisms are introduced the Federal Government must keep a close watching brief on our ailing industry over the coming months. And a strategic partnership will be needed over the long haul as we continue along this long road to recovery,” TTF CEO Margy Osmond said.
“Economic modelling for TTF by Stafford Strategy revealed that some 300,000 more jobs could be lost when JobKeeper ends in March. If we are still in the doldrums then, our industries will require specific support in the May 2021 Budget.
“Tourism, transport and aviation were the first sectors hit by the double whammy of bushfires and COVID and will be the last sectors to reboot and recover as some State borders and almost all international borders remain shut.
“TTF applauds the Federal Government for having the courage to back big infrastructure projects and new employer subsidies, business incentives and skills projects to drag our economy back into shape and bring unemployment down.
“This includes important regional rail upgrades in Victoria, significant regional road improvements across NSW, QLD, WA, Tasmania and the NT, upgrades to regional tourism infrastructure like Hahndorf in South Australia and improvements to regional bridges in the ACT. All these projects are regional tourism winners. However, we would have liked to see greater investments in public transport projects which are critical to the visitor experience.
TTF CEO Margy Osmond said the industry, both domestic and international, has been losing almost $10 billion per month and any uptick in domestic tourism will not be sufficient to fill the $4 billion black hole left by almost no international travel.
“The industry will continue to face its next major hurdle – the reluctance of many Australians to travel, particularly by plane, threatening the ongoing survival of the nation’s critical aviation industry and inhibiting a full-scale recovery in the domestic market,” Margy Osmond continued.
“Our research over the past six months has found that when Australians are travelling, they are largely choosing to use their own cars and are choosing destinations within four hours driving distance of their homes while the corporate sector has all but stop travelling and it will take some time before employers will feel comfortable asking their staff to travel placing a hand break on the recovery of this high yield market.
“TTF recommended in our budget submission that a dedicated $50 million campaign be funded from the uncommitted portion of the $1 billion tourism focused COVID 19 Relief and Recovery Fund announced earlier this year. While there was no inclusion of this measure in tonight’s Budget Papers, TTF will continue to raise this as a matter of urgency.”