Tourism

“An absolute priority”: 10,000 tourism professionals the latest to petition for JobKeeper extension

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

At least 10,000 Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) members are petitioning for the JobKeeper program to be extended to sustain tourism jobs.

The tourism peak body’s executive director, Simon Westaway, said retaining and extending the program was “an absolute priority” ahead of the federal government’s economic update on Thursday, and off the back of Victoria’s second wave of coronavirus cases.

“JobKeeper is doing the job intended for our heavily-hit tourism industry and all its associated businesses to retain their core workforce until visitor demand recovers,” Westaway said.

“The collective economic impact of our international border closure and changeable state and territory border constraints has smashed Australian tourism.

“Our industry needs far greater time than JobKeeper’s September deadline to allow for a meaningful recovery.”

Westaway’s comments come amid ongoing efforts to lobby government on the need to extend support for Australia’s under-siege tourism industry, led by the likes of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA), and the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU), among others.

They also come as Victoria battles a surge in coronavirus cases, with the state confirming 275 new cases in the last 24 hours.

Unfortunate research by ATIC has shown the state’s stalled interstate tourism market will cost $147 million in weekly gross state product.

The tourism peak body is now calling for JobKeeper to be extended by at least six months or until international borders reopen, and for the program to include regular seasonal employees.

It is also calling for payments to be based on business turnover, instead of industry turnover, and for a review into the payment level to be maintained at $1500 per fortnight, but capped at a lower amount for employees who were not previously earning that amount.

The news comes ahead of Thursday’s federal government economic update, during which the future of the JobKeeper scheme – along with other key support payments – will be outlined.

According to The Australian, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will outline the future of income support measures, after flagging that the $70 billion JobKeeper scheme would be extended as part of an extra round of economic support.

The scheme, according to the outlet, is likely to be targeted at industries like tourism and hospitality, which have been hardest hit.

Furthermore, it comes as the Commonwealth prepares to offer guaranteed loans of up to $1 million to around 3.5 million small businesses, in a move to stimulate the economy by lifting the cap on loans to $1 million from $250,000, The Australian reported.

The new loan guarantee for small to medium businesses will extend to June 2021, following Melbourne’s second coronavirus lockdown, which dampened expectations of a fast economic recovery.

This will come as the government prepares to reveal that the economic outlook has deteriorated on the back of the Victorian COVID-19 outbreak.

AHA, TAA report outlines potential importance of Commonwealth support

As the industry awaits this, the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) and Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) have released exclusive modelling outlining the economic benefits of aiding Australia’s hospitality and accommodation sector in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A draft report from Ernst & Young (EY), commissioned by the associations, focused on two policies to support the hospitality and accommodation sector: the extension of JobKeeper until March 2021 and the suspension of Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) on accommodation, meal, beverage and entertainment expenses for three years.

AHA national CEO Stephen Ferguson said the report was critical to building the evidence base for continued economic support, which has been a key requirement of Treasury and government.

“The draft report shows that, depending upon final government policy settings, three of the four JobKeeper scenarios examined indicate economic returns range from 1.42 to 3.38 times the initial cost to government,” he said.

“In regard to suspending FBT, EY found that accommodation, meal and beverage entertainment only forms a relatively small portion of the total fringe benefits tax collected by the government, but suspending FBT for our sector would produce economic returns ranging from 3.25 to 3.81 times the direct cost to government.”

TAA CEO Michael Johnson said the need for additional assistance was clear, particularly as Victoria and NSW deal with a second wave of locally acquired coronavirus cases.

“The EY report noted that 84 per cent of businesses reported decreased revenue, with more than half (53 per cent) reporting revenue decreases of 50 per cent or greater – this is the highest proportion of any industry to report revenue decreases in this range,” Johnson said.

“The report also showed that female workforce participation in our sector is well above the national average with 60 per cent of workers being female, as well as high levels of employment for younger Australians, with 47 per cent of workers being under the age of 25.

“AHA and TAA research also shows that 15 per cent of businesses reported that their operations could be supported for less than a month with current available cash at hand.

“Worryingly, it also showed a national average fall in accommodation hotel room revenue of 77 per cent and a plunge in occupancy rates of 66 per cent.

“Forward-looking data shows occupancy rates below 50 per cent of capacity based on current bookings over the 90-day period from 15 June to 12 September.”


Featured image source: iStock/leremy



SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Wholesalers

Virtuoso uncovers key differences in how each generation travels

Meanwhile, Travel Weekly staff are conducting our own research to tap into the zoomer market by teaching the office dog TikTok dances. It’s not going well.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Royal Caribbean Group completes its comeback with all ships back at sea

To honour the milestone, all 63 ships in the group’s fleet sounded their horns at once, which most likely scared the sh*t out of nearby fishing boats and unsuspecting wales across the world.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Virgin teams up with Flight Centre for money-can’t-buy workshop

It’s the second time a Flight Centre partnership has come up this week and it’s only Tuesday! Skroo must be feeling extra convivial this week.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

“It’s more like a bribe”: Unions slam Qantas’ $5,000 ‘thank you’ payment

Speaking of bribes, if anyone would like to bribe us with an all-expenses-paid trip to Japan we promise to give you a good review on TripAdvisor.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Solomon Islands to reduce mandatory quarantine

Good news for those looking to travel across the Pacific Islands! Not so good news for those who enjoy being confined to a hotel room for days on end.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Oakwood solidifies Aussie presence with full opening of Melbourne luxury property

Looking to treat yourself? Don’t get a chocolate at the shops, book yourself a stay at the new Oakwood property in Melbourne (or do both)!

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Flight Centre signs landmark agreement with Rex as pilots prepare for industrial action

While seemingly struggling to win popularity among its pilots, the regional carrier has turned to its agency partners for reassurance.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Princess reveals The Real Love Boat crew, celebrates ‘Top Gun Agents’

Say a prayer for the poor souls tasked with wrangling a ship full of reality dating contestants hell-bent on getting frisky at sea.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

How your clients can skip the rebound chaos with South America

Got clients keen to travel but hoping to avoid inflated prices and hoards of European Summer revellers? We’ve got the answer for you.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Events

Top 12 unmissable events for Italian summer trips

Summer in Italy means sunshine, gelato, promenading after dinner, Aperols overlooking the ocean, hiking, cycling…and a jam-packed events calendar.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Airport queues return in anticipation of the school holidays

If you were looking for a good chance to relisten to Led Zeppelin’s entire discography but can’t find the time, we recommend booking a flight to literally anywhere from Sydney or Melbourne airport this month.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Queensland government mulls tourism tax

In response to this, the NSW government will be introducing an ice-cream tax, which has infuriated primary school kids across the state.

Share

CommentComments