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Saturday, October 31, 2020

Tourism Sector Needs Emergency Funding To Support Bushfire Recovery

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Senator Don Farrell Shadow Special Minister of State Shadow Minister for Sport Shadow Minister for Tourism Shadow Minister assisting The Leader of The Opposition Senator for South Australia.

Senator Carol Brown Shadow Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Tourism Shadow Assistant Minister for Tasmania.

Tourism Australia should be immediately provided with emergency funding to expand its role to domestic marketing in response to the bushfire crisis.

Reports of cancellation rates of almost 100 per cent in areas directly impacted by bushfires are an urgent problem and we are now also hearing of cancellation rates as high as 60 per cent in unaffected areas.

The Australian Tourism Industry Council has stated that most cancellations are Australians choosing to stay home rather that travel for holidays.

New domestic marketing, highlighting the amazing travel experiences available within Australia and the best places to go for breaks beyond the end of summer will help address this.

Labor welcomes Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham’s meeting with tourism industry groups last week and is encourage by reports that new international tourism marketing campaigns are being worked on.

But with estimates of losses to the Australia’s tourism sector as a result of the bushfire crisis now ranging from $1 billion to $4.5 billion, more needs to be done it needs to happen now.

Even the lower end of current estimates is a huge hit to tourism, which employs around a million people and contributes more than $100 billion to Australia’s GDP.

Tourism losses deal a disproportionately hard blow to the local economies of regions in the midst of bushfire recovery.

Many of those communities rely heavily on tourism for jobs and to drive local business, not only through accommodation and tourist attractions but by bringing visitors into local shops, cafés, restaurants, pubs, cellar doors and more.

Without tourism, business in some regions has ground almost to a halt.

Appropriate, targeted international marketing is also necessary and must also be backed with funding.

Tourism’s vital role in the Australian economy and particular importance to our regions, including those impacted by bushfires, must be supported to keep the visitors coming.

The Government must include tourism planning in any long term recovery plans.

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