No help, no hope: Tourism industry shares budget disappointment

Queensland’s major tourism sector was dudded and offered “no hope” in the Federal Budget, with operators claiming the ongoing spectre of an Australia closed off to the rest of the world for another year and limited assistance for businesses meant the industry would continue to struggle.

May 12, 2021, updated May 12, 2021
 Daniel Gschwind wil head Trade and Investment Queensland (ABC photo).

Daniel Gschwind wil head Trade and Investment Queensland (ABC photo).

Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind said it was “hard to find the highlights” for tourism operators in the Budget.

“The tourism industry has certainly been the first into the crisis and will probably the last out of this crisis,” Gschwind said.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said the Budget offered tourism, the city’s major economic driver, no hope.

Tate, who had been cautiously upbeat as domestic tourists started flooding back into the holiday playground including more than 410,000 domestic arrivals through the Gold Coast Airport in April, said the Budget was a missed opportunity to help the struggling sector.

“We want hope,” Tate said.

“The Treasurer could have said we are working towards when the international borders will open, we will assist and help with travel arrangements like business travel enhancement and Austrade could be funded a lot more.

“He didn’t go there and say we are really going to come back bigger and better on tourism, and that’s a missed opportunity.”

Tate said the federal government’s earlier delivery of a $1.2 billion support package for the tourism and aviation sector, including 800,000 half-priced air fares, wasn’t enough.

“Australia is one of the highest tourist destinations. There’s a yearning to come to Australia and we’ve got to capitalise on that and really get on the front foot,” he said.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told the ABC’s 7.30 that the assumptions in the Budget that international travel would remain low through to mid-2022 then start “a gradual recovery” were “cautious”.

But Executive Director of the Australian Tourism Industry Council, Simon Westaway, said the uncertainty would cause further devastation for the sector.
“The federal budget outlooks indicate no foreseeable international market recovery for Australia’s visitor economy, and this sadly spells further tourism business and job losses,” he said.

Tourism and Transport Forum chief Margy Osmond echoed Queensland operators’ concerns saying the sector needed a roadmap on plans to open up.
“To say the middle of next year – it just doesn’t cut it,” she told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.


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