While things are looking pretty bleak here in COVID-ravaged Australia, Tourism Minister Dan Tehan says that “strong ray of sunshine” we’re all yearning for isn’t too far away.
Speaking at a Tourism Australia webinar last Friday, Tehan acknowledged the particularly difficult time that the country’s travel industry is currently facing.
“I’m getting very strong feedback that, at this moment, it’s probably as tough as it’s been with regards to the tourism industry,” he said.
“I understand that business support is providing some relief, but the feedback that I’ve been getting is that while the business relief is providing support especially into those areas where there’s lockdowns, it isn’t obviously flowing to those areas outside of lockdown which are feeling the ripple effects of shutdowns.
“This is something I’m trying to work through with my colleagues at the moment to see whether there is a way that we can provide some additional support.”
Tehan also commended Tourism Australia on its new vaccination campaign, and encouraged the rest of the tourism industry to get behind it and help reach the country’s vaccination target of 80 per cent by the end of the year.
“I think the next three to four months are going to be trying for all of us, but there is still that strong ray of sunshine that we can begin to see once we hit that 80 per cent rate by Christmas, and once we do, we will be able to turn the corner,” he said.
And, in a further positive sign, the Tourism Minister still views travel bubbles as “a way for us to progress” as Australia’s states and territories come out of lockdown and ease restrictions.
“Obviously, New Zealand is the one we’ve put in place, and it was working successfully, even if only for a brief period of time,” he said.
“I think [the] Pacific Islands [and] Singapore are very keen for us to do a bubble, and work’s being done in that regard. Japan and South Korea are very keen as well to see a bubble be put in place.
“The UK obviously have got a ‘traffic light’ system in place which is working well for them, and so I think we’ll be able to look to see what we can do with them. The US, they’re very keen also to engage with us.”
Tehan said he was confident of making all of these travel bubble dreams a reality, but noted it would be a bit of a “mix and match” depending on how the other countries are going in dealing with the virus.
Featured image source: YouTube/ABC News