Australia’s tourism sector expects $55 billion hit over next fiscal

australia tourism

The Australian tourism sector is expected to cop a $55 billion hit over the next financial year amid uncertainty over the reopening of state borders and the assumption that international travel bans will remain until July 2021.

Tourism expenditure is forecast to fall from $138.5 billion in 2019 to $83.8 billion. The prediction comes from a report in May by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission seen by The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age. It assumes international travel bans will remain until at least July 2021 but state border restrictions will be lifted.

The economic impact could be even worse if internal travel restrictions aren’t eased as anticipated, which is worrying tourism lobby groups and operators. The report shows domestic holiday activity was worth $54.3 billion in 2019, but is expected to drop 26% to $40.2 billion in 2020-21.

Domestic visits to friends and family are expected to drop 13% to $19.5 billion, while local business trips are expected to drop 35% to $16.9 billion.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday that with the spread of the virus accelerating in parts of the world, it was “not unreasonable” to assume international travel will not resume until July, except to New Zealand. “But no one really knows. And that’s the problem,” he said.

Australian Tourism Industry Council chief executive Simon Westaway, who has previously called for the $1500-a-fortnight per employee wage subsidy to be extended, wants more clarity on border restrictions, according to a report by Sydney Morning Herald. “The issue at the moment is that the industry doesn’t know where the bottom is. The market is very confused,” he said.