Devastated by COVID-19 lockdowns and border restrictions, accommodation and tourism businesses must now prepare for the future of travel in Australia.
While providers hoped that vaccination would signal an end to travel restrictions, recent COVID-19 outbreaks have changed plans, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that this wasn’t the case. It seems border restrictions are here to stay.
“Our borders will remain shut as long as it’s in Australia’s interest to protect the health of Australians but also to protect Australia’s economy,” he said.
This is bad news for already struggling accommodation providers. Fortunately, the government has plans to facilitate travel bubbles with Singapore and the Pacific, as well as to recommence the New Zealand travel bubble, when vaccination rates increase.It’s predicted that this will happen around July 2022.
While travel bubbles won’t allow a return to pre-pandemic industry, it will offer a lifeline for tourism businesses.
“We want to be able to open up and open up with those countries based on the medical advice when we know it’s safe to do so,” Dan Tehan, Australia’s trade minister, told CNBC.
Still, with international travel off the cards for a while longer yet, local accommodation providers are being forced to target a domestic market, even focusing on intrastate travel in the hopes of avoiding state border restrictions.
“The pressure on owners and staff is enormous,” said Michael Johnson, CEO of Tourism Accomodation Australia.
As the tourism and hospitality industry suffers through more lockdowns,
The most that tourism businesses can do is keep their focus local for now and set their sights on a brighter future for travel in the post-vaccination phase, when travel bubbles and vaccine passports will begin to allow travellers back into Australia.