Published on : Saturday, July 25, 2020
The tourism sector has contributed more than 10% to the Australian economy making the country the fourth largest contributor in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. International travel restrictions along with complete lockdown and quarantine measures has assisted in curbing the virus spread in Australia, but has led to severe damage in the tourism and hospitality industry. Australia has eased certain restrictions including opening interstate border, which will drive the sector; however, getting back to pre-COVID-19 level might still be slow due to fear of COVID-19 contraction among common people.
The Australian tourism sector comprises small and medium business enterprises and is extremely labor intensive. Various restrictions since January this year has escalated financial cost in tourism with unemployment rate in various states going up to 20%. Reopening the state borders will encourage domestic tourism that can partially compensate for the loss.
New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland accounting for 85% of the short-term overseas visitor arrivals (STA) to Australia are the worst sufferers due to the pandemic. Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth witness more than 85% of international visitor arrivals to the respective region. The Australian Trade and Investment Commission has predicted that tourism expenditure is expected to go down by A$55 billion (US$36.2 billion) in 2020-21 due to uncertainty over the reopening of state borders and international travel bans that are expected to remain until July 2021.