States must reopen borders to save jobs

20 May 2020 |

Australian Chamber – Tourism congratulates the NSW Premier on lifting restrictions on regional travel from 1 June. The tourism operators across the state of NSW will now be able to begin the restart out of COVID 19.

The Chamber’s Tourism Restart Taskforce identified the lifting of travel restrictions and opening of state borders as one of the country’s highest priorities.

“The NSW announcement goes a long way towards achieving that outcome by the target date of the June long weekend,” Australian Chamber – Tourism chair John Hart said.

“We urge other states to follow the NSW lead and restart their tourism sector.  With 56 per cent of the $80 billion generated in domestic tourism overnight spend coming from interstate travel, any hope we have of seeing the sector revived relies on breaking down our state border restrictions.”

“It is now critically important that Governments open state borders. Australian tourism cannot effectively restart until Australians can visit their favourite holiday destinations. Domestic tourism needs to fill the gap created by absent international visitors. That cannot happen in any significant way if the state borders are closed.

“750,000 Australian jobs are on the line. In Queensland alone there are 217,000 people directly employed in tourism, so to have that state shut off from the rest of the country is going to compound our country’s devastating unemployment figures.”

“The most desirable destinations for Australians to travel in the cooler months are those that are still closed to interstate visitors. The accommodation venues, restaurants and tourist attractions in Cairns, Broome and Darwin need visitors from our larger states to survive.

“Our health response to COVID has put Australia in a fantastic position to move on this.  The cases that are still coming to light are in tight clusters and are being well managed.  These few cases should not be seen as the reason why we are denying Australians the opportunity to travel and for businesses to start operating safely and creating the jobs Australia so desperately needs.”

The Tourism Restart Taskforce is providing advice to Governments on the key issues that will impact the restart of tourism.

The Taskforce has launched a new online dicussion board for tourism businesses to contribute comments on the issues important to them. Issues raised by the meetings of the Taskforce are also available. Head to the chamber’s COVID-19 website for more information: https://australianchambercovid.com/

John Hart | Executive Chair, Australian Chamber – Tourism

Marie Hogg

Senior Adviser - Media

P  |  0431 299 518

E  |  [email protected]

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