Grim warning for Canberra’s tourism and events sector

Canberra’s international tourism will be out of action for years while its concerts, cultural and sporting events will be on hold for the foreseeable future.

That’s the warning from Chief Minister Andrew Barr, who gave his grim outlook to a Covid-19 Legislative Assembly committee.

”It is very difficult to envisage a situation where any large-scale event would be possible, so even if there was a relaxation of the current very strict measures there would be no prospect of large community gatherings domestically in Australia for the foreseeable future,” he said.

“It is unlikely that any effective suppression and elimination strategy of the virus could succeed in Australia while having any form of open international border.”

Major event casualties from the virus include the National Folk Festival and Floriade, while Canberra’s major cultural institutions including National Gallery of Australia are also closed.

Travel from China, the UK and the US, which are the ACT’s biggest source countries for international visitors, are not expected to resume any time soon.

”We are now in an environment where any domestic travel and tourism has effectively ceased,” Barr said.

“The challenge now in the domestic tourism space in coming months is to look to innovate, and provide a Covid-19 safe tourism environment, which would need to be a highly managed environment with small groups of people and small numbers.”