It’s been over eighteen months of no revenue for many in Australia’s export tourism industry. And while the full opening of our international borders is imminent, the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) says the industry urgently needs a date to work towards.
According to ATEC managing director Peter Shelley, since the NSW government announced that vaccinated overseas arrivals will not have to quarantine from 1 November, ATEC members have been fielding enquiries from intending travellers looking to book an Australian holiday or visit their family.
“But they still can't make these bookings with any certainty,” he said.
We are approaching the northern hemisphere's annual booking season when the US, Europe and the UK typically plan their travel to warmer climates like Australia.
Shelley says if we miss this booking window “it will not surface again for another 12 months”.
“We simply can't afford to continue to keep our borders closed to high spending international travellers and miss critical ‘booking windows’ as these people simply will choose to holiday in other competing destinations, putting Australia at the bottom of their bucket list.”
A solid reopening date and framework for reopening will allow tourism businesses to rebuild valuable distribution partnerships, lock in bookings for 2022 and “help breathe life back into our $45Bn industry sector which was crippled by the pandemic”, Shelley said.
“Our industry has been waiting a long time for the opportunity to recover and we have a hard road ahead of us to reconnect with our international markets.
“We need to begin to regain our place as a ‘must visit’ destination and a date for the reopening of our international border is therefore both urgent and critical.
“Now is the time to provide clarity about Australia’s reopening to the world, and offer certainty to our industry, providing a much-needed opportunity for our financially fragile and work-depleted industry to commence the long road to rebuilding what was once Australians second largest export industry.”
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