The country’s leading tourism organization says Australians need to extend their vacations so the industry can recoup some of the losses suffered by the coronavirus pandemic.
A new report from Tourism Australia has revealed that $ 80 billion in revenue was lost in 2020 due to international and state border closures, introduced to prevent the spread of the virus.
The research, which is expected to be fully published on Wednesday evening, found 84 million fewer trips were made in 2020 compared to 2019 due to the trip wiping out caused by Covid-19.
Tourism accounts for 15 percent of Australia’s exports, according to the report; the lack of international visitors is a threat to the country’s economic recovery and the loss of its competitive edge in the global tourism industry.
The report also warns that international travelers will look to other destinations as long as borders remain closed until at least 2022.
“In Australia, we rely on international visitors because they are ‘high yielding’ – which means that while we don’t necessarily have a high volume of international travelers compared to other countries, those who come have a number significantly higher than the average. level of expenditure ”, indicates an extract from the report.
“This leaves us vulnerable as Australia’s position as a world-class destination for high-performance travelers is not guaranteed, and if our travel restrictions remain in place beyond those of competing countries, our sector is in a vulnerable position as we are probably losing market share to the benefit of other countries.
In 2019, international visitors spent nearly $ 45 billion in the Australian economy.
Despite an increase in domestic travel relieving some of the pressures tourism operators face, the report concludes Australians should try to extend their vacations to help the industry recover.
“If Australians took, on average, somewhat longer vacations, we could potentially fully compensate for the loss in international tourism with only domestic travel,” said an excerpt from the report.
“Australians need to travel more like international tourists – stay longer, spend more, disperse to regions, enjoy our cities and take advantage of the Australian tourism experiences offered in destinations.”
On average, an Australian takes four domestic overnight trips and 10 day trips each year.
According to Tourism Australia, the loss in international tourism revenue could be offset if, on average, each Australian added three additional overnight trips, for a total of seven domestic overnight trips and 10 day trips.
The metric also works if 17 additional day trips are added, which means that an average person per year takes four domestic trips with overnight stays and 27 day trips.
Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Dan Tehan said the federal government has already announced more than $ 1.2 billion in support for the travel industry, mostly in the form of discounted tickets intended to help regional tourism.
“The best thing the Australian government can do for our tourism businesses is to get tourists back who spend money,” said Mr Tehan.
“We want Australians to book a vacation in Australia this year because every dollar spent on domestic vacations supports an Australian job and a local business.”
Before the start of the pandemic, domestic tourism made up more than a third of Australia’s travel industry.
The report also notes that 665,000 people are directly employed in the sector, however, the Covid-19 slowdown has affected job security in the industry, especially for younger people.
“Young Australians suffer disproportionately from the loss of tourism, as tourism jobs are particularly important as a point of entry into the labor market,” Tourism Australia said.
“People under 25 made up about 45% of the accommodation and food services workforce in 2019, compared to 15% for everyone else.