The two-week lockdown of Greater Sydney covering the entire New South Wales school vacation is expected to cost the struggling Australian tourism industry more than $ 6 billion.
The Tourism and Transportation Forum says the industry will struggle to survive more lockdowns, imploring the federal government to consider subsidies and urgently increase vaccine deployment rates.
He believes the latest COVID-19 outbreak and border restrictions on residents of Sydney and New South Wales will devastate the mid-year school vacation period for travel-related businesses, with planned spending falling nationwide of $ 6.3 billion.
Forum chief Margy Osmond said New South Wales’ tourism sector would lose business worth $ 2.1 billion – or $ 153 million a day – nearly a third total losses forecast nationally for the holiday period.
This is the third consecutive school vacation that a COVID outbreak has forced a lockdown in a capital.
“While health remains the number one priority in managing COVID-19… I don’t know how long we can survive as this uncertainty persists,” Ms. Osmond said on Monday.
The latest outbreak has demonstrated the importance of speeding up the vaccination program, she said.
“The tourism industry continues to suffer from a lack of international travel and Australians’ lack of confidence in the domestic travel market and in vacation planning is demonic, making it very difficult for businesses in our industry to stay afloat, ”Ms. Osmond said.
TTF data showed that in the equivalent 2019 school vacation, more than 1.7 million Australians traveled to the country, but the Sydney lockdown is expected to see that number drop by 73% – to approximately 460,000 travelers.
Australia now has outbreaks in New South Wales, Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory, causing lockdowns, tighter restrictions and border closures.
This situation confirmed that the federal government’s decision to end Jobkeeper’s wage subsidy – especially for the tourism industry – in March “was somewhat shortsighted,” Ms. Osmond said.
“They will now have to look very seriously at another form of continued support to the tourism sector to ensure that we come out on the other side of the pandemic,” she said.
Australian Associated Press