Pandemic wipes $101bn from tourism sector

The tourism sector has seen more than $101 billion wiped from its balance sheet between the start of the pandemic in March last year up until June 30, 2021.

The latest Tourism Research Australia (TRA) data showed that international travel was unsurprisingly the worst performer down 94 per cent ($53 billion), while domestic overnight trips fell 36 per cent ($38.3 billion).

However, the border closures saw an uptick in Australians taking longer self-drive trips within their home state.

“In the year ending June 2021, the share of intrastate overnight trips and spend increased across all states and territories,” the TRA report stated.

“Nationally the share of overnight intrastate trips increased from 68 per cent to 80 per cent for overnight trips and 45 per cent to 65 per cent spend (for the year to June 2021).”

While regional destinations weathered the storm better, their counterparts in the major cities were not so fortunate, with overnight trips to capital cities dropping 28 per cent.

Business travel was also hammered, with overnight trips falling 47 per cent and spend reduced by 53 per cent since March last year.

But the TRA said there were some positive signs.

“Vaccination rates are rapidly approaching the levels needed to open up our economy,” TRA said.

“Restrictions are slowly easing. Qantas is accepting bookings to Canada, the UK and Singapore.

“Tourism Research Australia expects demand and traveller confidence will soon return. But it depends on increased travel certainty and people taking care to stay COVID-19 safe.”