Confirmation this week that Australia’s accommodation sector is the hardest hit is just the start of a very rocky patch for those working our hotels, motels and serviced apartments, says the Accommodation Association.
Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirm the accommodation sector has been hardest hit with 11,600 jobs (11.8 percent) wiped out between March 2019 and March 2020.
The ABS Tourism Satellite Account: quarterly tourism labour statistics1 shows the impact of the bushfires and the initial devastation of COVID-19 on the tourism sector. The June quarter release which comes out in September will capture the full impact of COVID-19 on tourism.
Accommodation Association CEO Dean Long said: “To the 11,600 people working in Australia’s hotels, motels and accommodation sector who lost their jobs between March 2019 and March 2020, the confirmation that accommodation takes first place as the hardest hit is little comfort.
Thousands more Australians have unfortunately been let go since then with hotels and motels struggling with single figure occupancy rates and the reality is that we know the worst is yet to come.
We know the heartbreaking steps that our members have had to take as they grapple with single-digit occupancy rates and have to let team members go. We have gone from 113,000 people to just 58,000 since March this year.
“If we hadn’t had JobKeeper, there would have been significantly more Australians out of work. It’s been devastating and difficult and there’s no end in sight. We already know these numbers will get worse.
“The accommodation sector is essential to Australia’s tourism sector and all those businesses and communities that rely on tourism. We need additional industry-specific support at a State, Territory and Federal level to make sure that Australia’s accommodation sector is there to help our tourism industry and wider economy recover as quickly as possible.
“We need greater clarity, notice and input from State Governments on border closures and their decision-making framework so that we can prepare adequately and protect as many jobs as possible while continuing to ensure safe environments for our people, customers and the wider Australian community.”
This devastating news came after the Accommodation Association voiced disappointment with Queensland’s decision to close the border to NSW and ACT.
Dean Long said: “The Accommodation Sector agrees that health considerations must be at the forefront of decision making however this decision comes with absolutely no warning and will now mean an acceleration of job losses in Queensland’s tourism sector.
“The closing of Queensland’s border to the whole of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory when there have been just 21 cases in total over the past month, less than 1 case a day, is extremely disappointing.
“It is absolutely critical that we get the balance right between protecting lives and protecting jobs. The flow-on ramifications of slamming shut borders are huge. This decision not only costs Queensland lost revenue from tourism but the reverse applies back into New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. This is a decision which has very real, very damaging consequences for hotels, motels and serviced apartment providers, for all those tourism and tourism-related businesses and communities and for the economies of those impacted states and territories. The Queensland Premier’s decisions impact more than just Queensland and we need a more collaborative and constructive approach.
“The Queensland Government and Chief Medical Officer must release the details of the rationale they are basing their decisions on in expanding hot spots so that businesses can understand and prepare. Decisions such as the one taken today destroy the confidence of businesses and tourism reliant communities.”
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today released new statistics on tourism employment and jobs.
The Tourism Satellite Account: quarterly tourism labour statistics captures the impact of the December 2019 and January 2020 bushfires and the beginning of international travel restrictions due to COVID-19.
Head of ABS Tourism Statistics, Amanda Clark, said the experimental estimates show that the March quarter took a heavier toll on tourism jobs than on jobs in the overall economy.
“The number of filled jobs in the tourism industry fell 3.0% between March 2019 and March 2020, while economy wide filled jobs grew by 1.7%,” Ms Clark said.
“While many areas of tourism activity were adversely affected, filled jobs in Accommodation services fell the most decreasing 11,600 jobs between March 2019 and March 2020.”
Ms Clark added: “Tourism activities tend to be labour intensive and this data shows the impact of the bushfires and the early stages of COVID-19 on the tourism industry.”
Domestic COVID-19 pandemic restrictions came in to effect from 21 March and may have had minimal impact on the results captured in this release. The June quarter release will show further impacts of COVID-19 on tourism activity. This is scheduled for release in late September.