With hundreds of thousands of jobs and businesses on the line, Australia’s leading tourism experts have revealed a plan to reignite tourism across the country in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Released by the Tourism Restart Taskforce, the plan was delivered to the Federal Government on 3 July, and includes input from government agencies including Austrade, the National COVID Coordination Commission, Tourism Australia and Treasury.
"The plan provides a runway back to operations as we look to save the industries which create one of 13 jobs in the Australian economy," Tourism Restart Taskforce chair Dr Jeremy Johnson said.
Among the recommendations brought down by the group is the need to reduce uncertainty around domestic travel, open all borders, create a Trans-Tasman bubble by July 2020, and make clear the conditions required for country-to-country re-openings.
The plan also calls for a commitment to an updated timetable on targets involving tourism, hospitality and events, urges no new travel restrictions be implemented, and calls for ample lead times to enable travel to commence efficiently.
Additionally, the plan recommends restrictions be eased in a way that is COVID-safe and policies be introduced to help stimulate demand and remove barriers to growth in areas like EMDG, tax, insurance, marketing, visas and border control.
"What we need right now is a clear timetable from the Morrison Government in order to restore hope to the tourism sector," said John Hart, chair of The Australian Chamber - Tourism, which established the Taskforce.
"Tourism businesses need lead time to prepare - they can't just open their doors in 24 hours and start trading. "
"We hope this plan will help all levels of government deliver that, as well as providing the necessary support for business owners who are doing their best to hang on during this once-in-a-lifetime crisis."
Among the Taskforce members are Dr Jeremy Johnson AM (Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry), the Hon. Bruce Baird AM (Business Events Sydney, TTF), the Hon. Martin Ferguson AM (Tourist Accommodation Australia), Flight Centre’s Graham (Skroo) Turner, Ponant’s Sarina Bratton AM, The Walshe Group’s Jacqui Walsh, and representatives from Tourism Australia and the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC).
The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) is also a part of the Taskforce, represented by Mr Turner.
New AFTA CEO Darren Rudd called the initiative "a critical collaboration between industry and Government working on how best to restart tourism, hospitality and events".
"The successful collaboration across a number of key industry sectors with Government that resulted in The Tourism Restart Plan is the best way to protect jobs and businesses while also supporting the Government in protecting lives," Mr Rudd said.
"There’s no doubt that significant challenges exist in getting this balance right."
"By working together as we have with the Tourism Restart Plan, we have been able to identify a number of realistic steps government can take that will unlock real and immediate benefits for travel agents and travel businesses as well as across tourism, hospitality and events."
"These measures include greater clarity on the triggers for restriction easing and border re-opening; government and health authorities boosting consumer confidence that it’s safe to travel within Australia; and ongoing collaboration on the bold and necessary reforms needed to protect tourism and the important role of travel agents in restarting this critical driver of the national economy."
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