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One year on and international tourism business are running on empty

Domestic travel has replaced less than 20% of the revenue received from international visitors, with most export tourism businesses reliant on the JobKeeper supplement to get them this far according to the Australian Tourism Export Council’s industry ‘Pulse Check’ taken in January.

With borders closed and export tourism businesses unable to access their international markets, 60% are running at less than 50% of their staff and service capacity with most only surviving with the support of the JobKeeper supplement.

“Australian tourism businesses have hung on with the support of JobKeeper but face annihilation once the program ends next month if the Government fails to provide further support,” ATEC Managing Director Peter Shelley said.

“Australia’s tourism industry has spent the past 12 months battling enormous setbacks, from bushfires to floods and the COVID crisis which has closed international borders and left tourism businesses with no customers.”

ATEC is calling on the Federal Government to provide further financial support to the tourism industry and specifically the export tourism businesses which are unable to operate at anywhere near their previous levels.

“Tourism businesses were optimistic that by now international borders would be open and they would be seeing visitors return, but all indications are that these businesses face yet another tough year.

“State and Territory governments need to provide certainty in the way they respond to COVID outbreaks and a clear path to reopening international travel that appropriately manages the health risk and effective roll out of vaccines in order to give our industry certainty into the future.”

The export tourism industry ‘Pulse Check’ looked at how Australia’s export tourism businesses have fared over the past 12 months revealing:

• Around 60% of tourism businesses are running at less than 50% of staff and service capacity
• While 75% of tourism businesses have been able to supplement some of their revenue with domestic visitors, this spend represents less than 20% of income lost from overseas visitors
• 55% of tourism businesses will not survive till September without some kind of government support (while international borders remain closed)
• 95% of inbound tour operators (ITOs) – key tourism export intermediaries – have revenue of less than 10% compared to 2019
• 50% of ITOs are unable to attract domestic business and for those who have this represents less than 10% of their international market.
• 80% of ITOs will be gone by September without some kind of government support, making it much harder for the inbound tourism industry to restart.

“Through no fault of their own, successful tourism businesses from across the country have been decimated by a series of setbacks that culminated with the international border closures.

“These are the same businesses which were instrumental in delivering $45bn export revenue in 2019 and delivering thousands of jobs to regional communities throughout the country and they will be the ones which will provide future jobs and economic prosperity.

“Given the success of our export tourism industry over the past decade which saw international visitors contributing more than $350bn in our economy, we must ensure these businesses survive.

“Once the borders reopen, these businesses will quickly rebound and once again contribute significantly to our export earnings, support regional economies and build back Australian jobs.”
Media Contact: Julie Smith 0421 029 353

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