Australia’s tourism industry lost $3.3 billion in August as the Morrison Government continued to deny the sector any targeted, industry-wide support.
Tourism Research Australia data released today reveals losses since the start of the year have blown out to a staggering $31.2 billion in domestic tourism alone.
And of course, our $45.4 billion international market has also ground to a halt.
These latest statistics confirm what has been clear since much earlier this year – the industry is hurting and in need of targeted support.
The numbers also demonstrate that recovery in the sector is increasingly becoming two-speed, with those in regional areas near capital cities seeing improved visitation while those further out and those in our capital cities continue to struggle.
There can be no doubt that when tourism is hurting, Australia’s economy is hurting.
Pre-COVID, tourism employed over one million Australians and contributed some $100 billion to our GDP.
But this year has been devastating for this dynamic and self-sufficient industry, which for years has quietly grown from strength to strength.
Tourism businesses were forced to shed 136,500 jobs in the year to June 2020 alone, despite JobKeeper.
With no targeted support package in sight from the Morrison Government, there can be no doubt that more jobs will be lost, and more businesses will close.
It is not good enough for the Government to leave tourism to fend for itself, along with the people whose livelihoods depend on it.
The Morrison Government must fast-track flagged tourism infrastructure investments, ensuring funding flows this financial year and projects completed as soon as possible.
It must also deliver a clear plan to support the entire sector through this crisis, prevent hundreds of thousands more jobs being lost and ensure operators survive to drive our national economic recovery into the future.