One of the country’s biggest tourism bodies is again pleading for the federal government to extend support to the industry, as the end of the JobKeeper scheme approaches.
The Tourism and Transport Forum says that around 318,000 jobs are at risk, as the industry faces another nine months without international visitors.
New analysis from Stafford Strategy projects that without further support after March, the tourism industry is facing “potential extinction”.
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Over half a million full-time tourism jobs have already been lost around Australia since the coronavirus pandemic began a year ago, and at least another 300,000 are predicted to go next.
TTF Australia CEO Margy Osmond says 118,000 of those jobs will go in NSW, 85,300 in Victoria and 59,700 jobs in Queensland.
“These sorts of additional job losses will be dire for the tourism industry which, after hemorrhaging tens of billions of dollars in 2020, has just lost another $6.8 billion over the peak summer holiday period with a string of domestic border closures following the Sydney Northern Beaches outbreak.
“Without this targeted industry-specific support, there may not be a tourism industry left at the end of this year.
“Tourism is uniquely affected by government decisions relating to borders and while other sectors and non-tourism related confidence may be rebounding, our tourism, transport, aviation and creative industries are still being crippled by government policy decisions.”
The TTF, as part of the ‘Tourism Employee and Asset Maintenance (TEAM) program’, is calling for targetted assistance of between $1,000 to $1,500 per employee per fortnight for eligible businesses that have suffered a 30 per cent to 50 per cent or more downturn in their 2019 turnover.
The program’s expected to cost around $7.7 billion.
Ms Osmond says it’s clear that domestic tourism cannot make up for the international loss, with the tourism industry suffering an $81 billion loss up to September 2020.
The federal government has consistently said that it will review the support measures closer to the March end date, but also say that taxpayers could not keep funding the Australian economy through our coronavirus recovery.