High airfares, limited capacity damaging tourism exports

Thursday, August 31, 2023



The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) has written to the Minister for Transport, Catherine King, to express concerns about Australia’s high airfares and air capacity and its impact on inbound tourism.

Representing the interests of over 800 Australian export tourism businesses nationally, ATEC is the only association focused solely on businesses catering to the international visitor market.

As they approach two years since borders reopened, the number of international holiday makers arriving in Australia each month continues to lag well behind pre-covid levels with our international leisure tourism sector still very much in recovery mode.

“A key factor impacting recovery is aviation – sustained high airfares coupled with a lack of airline capacity and competition are impeding growth which in turn affects our tourism trade deficit,” ATEC’s letter states.

“By allowing more competition into Australia from international airlines, we are opening up the opportunity for job creation, higher export earnings, lower airfares both into and out of Australia all thanks to an increase in international tourist arrivals.

“In this post-covid period, there are some clear winners – airlines are posting record profits – yet our ability to grow and service inbound visitors, who contribute significantly to our export earnings is being curtailed by limited access by international carriers into Australia.

“Whilst many reports indicate that capacity is close to returning to 2019 levels across all carriers, the data is skewed by a couple of isolated increases: most of our key inbound markets are still somewhere between 50% and 80% of their 2019 capacities.

ATEC supports the reform of aviation rules, which are currently dampening competition, and building an aviation system which promotes long term efficiency, competition and in turn will create positive economic impact across the country.

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