Is Australian tourism industry shaping up for a quick recovery?
Team Veye | 27-Mar-2022
The tourism sector has been among the most impacted by the measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. And amongst this, international tourism businesses have been the most hit of all.
Having no access to main customer bases for two years, pivoting to domestic but having to bear with lockdowns in 2020, then Delta in 2021 and now Omicron in 2022, many iconic tourism businesses, large and small, have been beaten down.
The pandemic dealt a double blow to these businesses. They suffered reduced revenue while incurring higher labour and other costs.
Before the pandemic, Australia welcomed 9.3 million visitors, with tourist spending hitting 44.6 billion Australian dollars ($32b) in 2018-19, according to Tourism Australia. Between March 2020 and March 2021, international tourists dropped to practically zero, inflicting losses of 40.7 billion Australian dollars ($29.2b) on the sector. The return of tourists, who can enter Australia quarantine-free so long as they are double-vaccinated, comes after the government lifted restrictions on skilled migrants and international students in November.
Tourism and Transport Forum also stated that while the industry was galvanized by the reopening, but would need coordination to ensure Australia was competitive as a destination because it's not as simple as just turning on the tap and seeing numbers of international tourists back where they were pre-COVID.
Australia may not see an immediate flux of tourists due to restrictive travel policies in many prospective tourists’ home countries. China, which contributes the maximum to Australia’s tourism market, still has a strict “zero COVID” policy that makes travel in or out of the country difficult.
A $12 million content creation initiative, scheduled to run until June 2022, is aimed at supporting tourism businesses across Australia in their recovery and driving increased visitation by helping them to better market their experiences and attractions.
Shares of tourism-related stocks have started pulling up as investors are welcoming the prospect of a return to profit growth. Investors are clearly confident about Australia’s future as a world-class tourism destination, and the projects establish a firm foundation on which to build Australia’s tourism recovery.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that Australia remained a world-leading tourist destination because of its unique attractions, high-quality tourism operators and lifestyle.
The Government is investing an additional $60 million to bring back international visitors to the regions hardest hit by international border closures. Australia’s tourism recovery is bouncing back strongly, with high domestic vaccination rates, international arrival numbers growing, cruise ships returning to Australian waters, and confidence to travel ramping up.
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