TAA National CEO, Michael Johnson, and TAA Chairman, Martin Ferguson, appeared before the Federal Senate committee on COVID-19, representing the tourism and accommodation industry.
The industry continues to face never-ending uncertainty as a result of COVID-19 and extended travel restrictions, Johnson has bidder for clarity from the government on the strategic plan and guidelines so that businesses can make necessary adjustments to their operations.
Johnson said, “The initial shutdown of inbound markets and borders followed by the implementation of federal restrictions have left our tourism, in particular the accommodation sector, decimated.” Johnson reinforced the dire state of the industry, noting hotels in CBD’s across the country have reported a decreased in operations, down 50 -60 per cent from this time last year, in extreme cases, revenue has dropped to an excess of 75 per cent in Sydney and Melbourne.
The extension of the JobKeeper program and relaxed eligibility criteria has been crucial for the survival of the industry, however, Johnson stated “with state border closures extended… no sign of international borders re-opening… and even our New Zealand bubble no longer an option… our industry will need ongoing support if we are to survive.”
“2020 is a write-off and the first half of 2021 not looking much brighter. In fact, forecasters say it will take up to 4 years before our industry returns to anything like pre-COVID-19 occupancies and profitability.”
TAA in collaboration with AHA has submitted a proposal to the government for the exemption of FBT for 3 years for SMEs – to stimulate both accommodation and food and beverage sales across the industry.