Tourism

Industry leaders form new taskforce for Australia’s tourism recovery

The likes of Flight Centre, Ponant, Tourism Australia, and The Walshe Group have joined forces to help aid tourism’s recovery in the wake of COVID-19.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s tourism division has announced the formation of a new industry advisory board, set up to provide advice to industry and government on the short-, medium- and long-term priorities for tourism’s recovery post-coronavirus.

Heading the newly formed ‘Tourism Restart Taskforce’ as chair is Jeremy Johnson, the immediate past president of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and former CEO of major regional tourist attraction Sovereign Hill.

According to Johnson, the taskforce would be complementary to the efforts of Tourism Australia.

“Tourism Australia, working with the state tourism bodies and the visitor economy sector, will create the demand for visitation as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis,” he said.

“The taskforce will focus on the structure to ensure all tourism businesses can deliver on that promise.”

Joining Johnson on the taskforce are:

  • Bob East (Experience Co, Tourism Australia)
  • Martin Ferguson (Tourist Accommodation Australia)
  • Geoff Donaghy (BECA, ASM Global, ICC Sydney)
  • Graham “Skroo” Turner (Flight Centre)
  • Denis Pierce (Australian Tourism Export Council)
  • Sarina Bratton (Ponant)
  • Nikki Govan (Star of Greece, Business SA)
  • Bruce Baird (Business Events Sydney, TTF)
  • Jacqui Walshe (The Walshe Group)
  • John Hart (Australian Chamber – Tourism).

Johnson said a considered and careful plan is now required to restart Australia’s third-largest export industry and one of the country’s biggest employers.

“The exceptional group of tourism leaders assembled in this taskforce will give Australian tourism the best chance of positioning itself for long-term growth after the restart period,” he said.

Hart, the executive chair of the Australian Chamber – Tourism, said the taskforce would embrace the local, intrastate and interstate tourism restart effort, and liaise with many facets of government.

“Travel, tourism, business events, and hospitality have undoubtedly been the hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis,” Hart said.

“Given they have traditionally been huge job generators, a successful restart will be an integral part of the nation’s economic recovery.”

Australian Tourism Exchange Council chair Denis Pierce and board member Jacqui Walshe of The Walshe Group said they were pleased to be part of the newly created taskforce.

“Our tourism and hospitality industry has had a knockout blow causing widespread damage to hundreds of thousands of businesses and livelihoods across the nation,” Pierce said.

“This forum provides a vehicle to move our industry through this troubled period as a united voice.”

Walshe said it was important for the industry to be working collectively to find solutions to ensure the survival of the essential operational framework that the industry relies upon.

“All businesses in the tourism economy are struggling with the scale of this impact, and many of our tourism businesses are genuinely worried about the survival of their organisation and the potential long-term damage to the whole sector,” she said.

“This taskforce brings together many of our key industry bodies, and is an opportunity for cooperation and collaboration in finding the right solutions for all of us to ensure tourism is able to recover its ability to make a genuine and significant contribution to the Australian economy.”

The taskforce will feed into the ‘National COVID-19 Coordination Commission’ and the ‘Austrade Tourism Incident Response Coordination’ group.

Through the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, it will also feed into the Business Liaison Group in Treasury and the Department of Industry recovery group.


Featured image: iStock.com/Alexwise

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