One in three tourism businesses could be forced to close within the next three months, according to new research released by the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF).
A national survey of over 500 businesses – from both tourism and other sectors – conducted by Newgate Research for TTF, has painted a grim picture of the sentiment among travel-dependent businesses compared to other industries after what has effectively been an 18-month lockdown for the nation’s visitor economy.
The research revealed 41 per cent of businesses that rely on tourism feel things will get worse over the next three months, while almost a third (29 per cent) believe their outlook is bleak for at least the next 12 months.
It also shows that 70 per cent of tourism businesses surveyed are exploring other activities or revenue streams, considering reducing staff hours (69 per cent) or scaling down their operations (62 per cent) over the next three months.
Twenty per cent plan to take even more drastic action and shut their doors, while another 10 per cent said they will sell up.
“Tourism business have made it clear that as other sectors recover, they still foresee a challenging period ahead not only in the short term, but for the next year or more,” said TTF chief executive Margy Osmond.
“It’s not like we are expecting an ‘open sesame’ moment where everything returns to normal, and travel hesitancy will linger for both the leisure and corporate travel markets as long as Australians feel they are at the mercy of policymakers playing border ‘roulette’ and while quarantine requirements remain in place.
“In the long term, there is a real fear that major and high yield inbound markets outside of the US and UK, such as Asia and parts of Europe, will remain directly shut off to Australia for some time until they are deemed as safe countries by the federal government and quarantine-free travel opens up for double-vaccinated tourists.
“Many internationally reliant tourism operations in places like Cairns and Uluru, in tourism growth states like South Australia and Tasmania and in the struggling CBDs of Melbourne and Sydney will simply be unable to pivot their products and offerings to save their businesses and will need further government support.
“It will take a combination of concerted and strategic international engagement and investment by state and federal governments to reattract key aviation routes, while at the same time providing targeted financial support for internationally reliant tourism operators so that they can stay afloat during this time.
“TTF will continue to raise this issue as a priority with governments so that tourism does not become the collateral damage of the Australian economy in the wake of the post-COVID economic recovery.”
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