The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) has welcomed the announcement of a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand to start in the middle of April. The bubble will help to re-establish some of Australia’s long term travel relationships and marks the first step in reopening our export tourism industry to international visitors.
“Our industry will be very happy to hear that a travel bubble has been agreed between the Australian and New Zealand governments which will see one of our most significant markets back online,” ATEC Managing Director Peter Shelley said.
“Australian tourism businesses, like those across the world, have suffered severely with the closure of international borders and this marks an initial step towards re-establishing our $45bn annual export industry.
“Thousands of tourism businesses across the country have suffered a severe drop in their income with the closure of international borders and many are simply holding on for announcements like this.”
Mr Shelley said a recent ATEC survey of the export industry showed Australian inbound tour operators (ITOs) were suffering the most under the international border closures with 80% operating with less than 10% of their pre-COVID revenue.
“While our tourism product supplier members are doing their best to turn to the domestic market and are working hard to make ends meet, ITOs are only staying afloat with the help of the Federal Government’s travel agent grants program now that the JobKeeper subsidy has ended.
“Without the re-opening of borders or the certainty provided by ongoing government support, a large number of ITOs will be out of business within months, taking with them a significant pipeline of forward bookings made by international travellers and millions of dollar’s in revenue.
“ITO’s are the businesses which sell Australian tourism product across the world and while they are small in number, they deliver a huge amount of business across the country, especially to regional areas which have developed strong destination appeal for international visitors.
“The reopening of international borders will be wholeheartedly welcomed across the industry and particularly by those businesses whose entire future rests on international visitation.”