Tourism yet to see huge rush in Australia

 Saturday, August 27, 2022 

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Steve Edmondson operates boutique tours of the Great Barrier Reef for 20 years. These days, he is getting to hear more foreign accents.


This week, Mr. Edmondson greeted a couple from Italy reveling in their honeymoon. Around the town of Port Douglas, he said that an international essence is gradually coming back.


However, Mr. Edmondson said that it is more of a trickle than a huge rush.


On his boats, the accustomed Aussie accent is still strong and truly obscures the foreign accents.


He said that at this stage, they are witnessing only around 15 per cent international tourists. Before the pandemic, it was a 50:50 scenario.


This week marks six months since Australia reopened its borders to greet global tourists once again into the country.


Nevertheless, numbers are still down compared to the pre-COVID levels.


In June this year, 275,300 short-term foreign visitors reached Australia. In June 2019, there were 660,340. Big spenders are, however, staying away.


The Department of Home Affairs said that 13,700 backpacker visas, known as Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visas, are pending now.


There are also 70,060 backpackers with effective visas presently out of Australia who might travel and work in the country if they desire, but have preferred to stay away.


That’s almost 84,000 spenders and prospective workers who are not in Australia, during a time when the country needs both.

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