Tourism, one of Australia’s biggest industries, is worth more than A$60 billion. It employs about 5% of the country’s workforce. However, the sector was crippled when the nation shut its international borders last year.
As travel restrictions were imposed to curtail the spread of COVID-19, tens of thousands of Australians were left on the country’s wage-subsidy scheme.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison should speak on Thursday about plans to subsidize 800,000 domestic flights and support its two main airlines. Moreover, plans to offer cheap loans to small tourism operators as part of A$1.2 billion ($921 million) package to revive the travel sector.
According to extracts of an announcement, Morrison will pledge another stimulus package for the travel sector. This will be for propping up the industry when the subsidy scheme ends this month.
Additionally, he will say Australia will subsidize 800,000 domestic flights between Apr. 1 and July 31. This will be while its international borders remain closed.
Moreover, he will say that it will pay 50% of flying to 13 destinations. And, airlines have agreed to provide additional flights to those places.
Morrison will say this is their ticket to recovery, 800,000 half-price airfares to get Australians traveling.
His government will provide financial support to Qantas and Virgin Airways between Apr. 1 and Oct. 31. This is when international flights should resume, he will say.
The Prime Minister did not reveal the scale of the funds. They will use it to keep 8,600 workers. They will also use it to keep planes in “flight-ready” condition and international passenger services at a pre-pandemic level.
Tourism businesses such as tour companies will also receive loans of up to $5 million. That is, with two-year repayment holidays, the prime minister will also say.
Furthermore, trade minister Dan Tehan will say they need Australians to do their patriotic duty and book a holiday this year.
Government’s tourism COVID-19 package to replace JobKeeper
The support package for tourism businesses is due to be disclosed before the end of the week. This is for tourism operators who are still struggling with international COVID border restrictions.
Many are hoping it will keep them afloat after JobKeeper ends.
The federal government is in the process of finalizing the details of how it can help the sector.
Meanwhile, in other news, Australia must think about how temporary visa-holders can meet workforce shortages. This is the country’s economy that is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.