Tourism industry calls for $1.3 billion lifeline for Victoria’s devastated Visitor Economy

Published on : Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF), and the Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) have joined forces to call on the State Government to provide a $1.3 billion economic lifeline, as new data reveals 165,000 tourism jobs could be lost by this time next year as a result of COVID-19 and the ongoing restrictions.

The data compiled for TTF by tourism economic consultants Stafford Strategy shows the capacity for the Victorian tourism industry to fall off a cliff come March 2021 when the Federal Government’s Jobkeeper subsidy is scheduled to conclude putting tens of thousands of jobs at risk.

TTF CEO Margy Osmond said Victoria was a unique case in that it had suffered the triple whammy of the summer bushfires and two COVID lockdowns with little or no intrastate travel while other states had at least had the benefit of their residents being able to take holidays internally.

“Victoria’s visitor economy has really taken a battering haemorrhaging almost $2.5billion per month and will require life-support over the next few years if it is to retain its position as one of Australia’s most desirable and visited tourist destinations,” Ms Osmond said.

“Sustained and strategic funding over the next four years is a must to restore the state’s tourism industry back to its pre-COVID glory days and with little international travel likely before the end of next year, the competition for the domestic tourism dollar will be fierce.”

VTIC CEO Felicia Mariani called on the Victorian State Government to set a hard reopening date for the industry.

“To hear that the ‘ring of steel’ could be in place until ‘late November’ is beyond belief. And even with the lifting of travel restrictions, we still have large segments of our industry across indoor attractions, tour and transport and our events sector that have no idea whatsoever as to when they might reactivate.

“This approach is decimating hundreds of Victorian tourism businesses. We have lost international visitors, interstate visitors, and now even our fellow Victorians.”

“The rest of the country is proving it is possible to reopen slowly and safely,” Ms Mariani said.

“Our industry has invested enormous effort in preparing COVIDSafe Plans and ensuring all practices and processes are in place as directed by government. We just need to be able to open.”

The industry is calling for a $1.3 billion financial support package over 4 years including funding for Visit Victoria, Melbourne Convention Bureau, and Business Events Victoria that bring visitors to the state; and funding for industry initiatives, including game-changing infrastructure investment opportunities around the state.

TTF and VTIC are also calling on the Federal Government for the continuation of JobKeeper, which could save over 85,000 tourism jobs in Victoria by September 2021.

The table below shows the full details of Jobkeeper and jobs data compiled by Stafford Strategy:

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