WITH the Federal Government suggesting international borders will not open until 2022, it is critical that internationally focused tourism businesses across Australia receive clarity on continued government support in order to give them certainty in planning for their future recovery.
“The government is indicating our international borders will be closed to visitors until at least the end of the year and while many tourism businesses are surviving with domestic visitation, there is a group of uniquely exposed businesses who receive little or no benefit from the current domestic travel stimulus programs,” ATEC managing director Peter Shelley said.
“While we welcome these stimulus initiatives which are helping drive domestic travel, there are many tourism products which domestic travellers are simply not booking, like day tours and attractions. Plus we have the inbound tour operator cohort who are unable to pivot their business model to benefit from domestic travel support programs.
“While these businesses have welcomed the support packages offered by the government so far, they are crying out to know if this support will continue until international borders reopen.
“Without this certainty, they have no confidence to invest in their future or begin planning for our industry’s restart, let alone continuing to hold on to the rubble of their businesses."
Mr Shelley said inbound tour operators (ITOs) were particularly exposed and will have no revenue until the borders reopen. These businesses are crucial to the export tourism supply chain given they connect Australian tourism products to our lucrative international markets, he said.
“ITOs are the businesses which sell Australian tourism product across the world," Mr Shelley said. "They continue to manage strong forward booking enquires for future international visitors despite not having any revenue.
"They are not asking for much, just the clarity of knowing if they will receive ongoing support to sustain operations until borders open. This knowledge will mean they can make the hard decisions about their ability to survive or if they should simply wind up their operations.
“This small cohort of ITO businesses influence, convert and manage unique Australian itineraries which are featured on the websites and in travel brochures of thousands of Aussie Specialist travel agencies around the world.
“We view this cohort of ITOs as critical strategic assets for Australia’s inbound tourism industry and without certainty in the form of ongoing government support, we will see more of these businesses close their doors, significantly eroding Australia’s competitiveness as a global tourism destination.
“ATEC is anxiously awaiting the details of the Federal Budget which will be a clear indicator of the Government’s understanding of tourism’s plight.”
THE Foreign Affairs and Aid Subcommittee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade is holding the next stage of public hearings into the military coup in Myanmar on Thursday, May 13, 2021.
Representatives from the Department of Home Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Department of Defence will appear to provide detail on the Australian Government’s response to the unfolding crisis.
Chair of the Subcommittee, Dave Sharma MP, said the submissions from community groups and experts have helped inform Australia’s approach in supporting a cessation of violence and a return to democratic rule in Myanmar.
"Last month we heard from a wide range of diaspora groups, human rights organisations and leading experts who shed light on the deeply concerning developments in Myanmar," Mr Sharma said. "With ASEAN having now assumed a diplomatic role in resolving this crisis, the Subcommittee is keen to hear from Australian government departments about how we can best support ASEAN efforts to restore civilian rule in Myanmar."
Further information about the inquiry can be found on the Committee’s website.
Public hearing details
Date: Thursday 13 May 2021
Time: 11am to 12.30pm AEST
Location: Committee Room 2R1, Parliament House, Canberra
The hearing will be broadcast live at aph.gov.au/live.