Open borders: Tourism cannot be a political football

Accommodation Association calls for point scoring to end

Welcoming the decision to reopen Australia’s international border on February 21, the Accommodation Association (AA), is urging the government to implement a strategy that both allows for planning and instils confidence for people to travel again.

The AA and Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) have been quick out of the blocks to welcome the news with AA CEO, Richard Munro, saying he was looking forward to seeing more detail about how and when the reopening will be instigated.

“The Federal Government has already announced multiple incentives and support measures to bolster Tourism while just about every State and Territory Government continues to roll out similar support.

“We appreciate that and are grateful but what this sector needs is a plan which everyone agrees with and supports.”

“Tourism, he said, and many businesses including hotels, motels and accommodation providers and their employees need to have a commitment from Government at all levels on this.

“Tourism cannot be a political football and we can’t afford to invest in ramping up for a return of International travellers only to have borders shut, quarantine requirements change or be re-introduced or vaccination frameworks to be amended.

“Put bluntly, the political point scoring has to end.

 “Consumer, corporate and sector confidence has taken a continual beating through all of this and we can’t afford anything that further impacts that.

“The widespread labour losses of up to 35 percent alongside the sector-deep loss of skills has hit almost every hotel and motel in the country.

“For those hotels heavily hit by the international travel ban which are predominantly reliant on international travellers.

“And in Sydney and Melbourne’s CBD, it’s even more important that these arrangements stick and that, if they invest in restocking and bringing people back, they can rely on the commitments that travellers will be able to return to Australia.” 

Meanwhile, ATEC managing director, Peter Shelley said finally, Australia’s tourism industry can breathe a sigh of relief, hit the ‘Go’ button and finally begin the long path to rebuilding their markets with the government announcement.

“Australian tourism businesses will rejoice in the news that our borders will reopen to all international travellers on 21 February,” he said. 

“It’s been a long hard and desperate road for every tourism business across the country and we have lost many along the way, but this news will give those who have survived a clear target to work towards and a start point for the rebuilding of the industry. 

“With close to two years with our borders closed our industry has lost tens of billions of dollars in export revenue and we welcome the border reopening as an opportunity to regain some of Australia’s tourism market share. 

Mr Shelley said while the border reopening was the top priority for the industry, the damage has been devastating and every part of the industry will need support to reboot successfully. 

“Australia is an incredible destination and one that enjoyed a place at the top of the global travel bucket list prior to COVID closing our borders back in March 2020, and we can see a strong future for our industry. 

“While other destinations are already back online and welcoming visitors, Australia has been off the global destination list for quite some time and there is significant pent-up demand as we look forward. 

“But the challenge for our industry is to meet this demand successfully and that will involve tourism businesses rebuilding their lost capacity, product, service skills and supply chains. 

“Given the tourism industry has taken a devastating hit to its skills base, experience, expertise and global sales networks, we urge the Government to outline a significant funding commitment to our industry in next month’s budget as a sign of its support for what has been a hugely valuable economic contributor for more than a decade.”

These changes will ensure we protect the health of Australians, while we continue to secure our economic recovery.



Related Articles

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Back to top button
WP Tumblr Auto Publish Powered By :
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x