Clarity on government support requested by export tourism companies

With Australian government suggesting that international borders will not open until 2022, the Australian Tourism Export Council stresses that it is essential that internationally oriented tourism businesses across Australia receive clarification of the government’s continued support to to give them the certainty of planning their future recovery.

ATEC Managing Director Peter Shelley notes that “the government says our international borders will be closed to visitors until at least the end of the year and while many tourism businesses survive on national tours, there is a group of particularly exposed companies that receive little or no benefit from current domestic travel incentive programs.

“While we welcome these stimulus initiatives that help boost domestic travel, there are many tourism products that domestic travelers simply don’t book, such as tours and attractions. Additionally, we have the cohort of inbound tour operators who are unable to pivot their business model to benefit from domestic travel support programs.

“While these companies have welcomed the support programs offered by the government so far, they ask whether this support will continue until the international borders reopen.

“Without this certainty, they have no confidence to invest in their future or start planning to restart our industry, let alone continue to cling to the rubble of their businesses.

Shelley said inbound tour operators (ITOs) were particularly at risk and will have no income until the borders reopen. These businesses are essential to the export tourism supply chain as they connect Australian tourism products to our lucrative international markets.

“ITOs are the companies that sell Australian tourism products around the world. They continue to handle strong forward booking requests for future international visitors, even if they have no income.

“They’re not asking for much, just clarity as to whether they will receive continued support to sustain operations until the borders open. This knowledge will mean that they will be able to make the tough decisions about their ability to survive or whether they should simply end their operations.

“This small cohort of ITO companies influences, converts and manages unique Australian itineraries that are featured on the websites and travel brochures of thousands of Aussie Specialist travel agencies around the world.

“We view this cohort of ITOs as critical strategic assets for the Australian inbound tourism industry and with no certainty in the form of continued government support we will see more of these businesses close, significantly eroding the competitiveness of Australia. Australia as a global tourist destination.

“ATEC looks forward to details of the federal budget which will be a clear indicator of the government’s understanding of the plight of tourism.”

Image: Courtesy Tourism WA Molly Springs

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