“It’s kind of a double whammy – not only is money not going to be spent but it’s also the most sensitive time of the year for this to have happened,” TTF chief executive Margy Osmond said.
“There is going to have to be some sort of longer-term support for our industry and there is going to have to be a version of JobKeeper.
Our industry more than any other is sensitive to the borders being closed.
Tourism and Transport Forum chief Margy Osmond
“Our industry more than any other is sensitive to the borders being closed and sensitive to the lack of confidence that this border closure process creates, plus we’re in many instances a highly seasonal industry.”
Tourism operators will have crisis talks with new federal minister Dan Tehan on Tuesday.
Businesses in NSW are collectively losing $125 million a day from border closures preventing interstate visitors, an economic analysis by specialist tourism consultants Stafford Strategy for TTF finds. It also estimates other states including Victoria are losing out on $172 million a day that NSW visitors would be spending on their holidays.
An Australia Airports Association survey found just over half of respondents said potential border closures were their biggest concern about booking interstate flights. One in six said they would not consider travelling interstate by air at all.
Ms Osmond said concern about the outbreak was putting Sydney residents off even travelling around their own region, so she doesn’t expect that money to be recouped.
“What this has done is created a desire by people to stay in their own homes, particularly in greater Sydney, and money that we might otherwise have seen being spent on attractions, day trips, goodness knows what else, probably isn’t being spent at this point in time,” she said. “I can’t see it happening for at least another week, once we’ve got a clearer picture of what’s happening with the virus spread.”
The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows the number of tourism jobs has fallen from its peak of 747,100 last December to 634,000 in the September quarter. The sector has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, shedding 15.1 per cent of jobs compared with 5.3 per cent across the wider economy.