PM tight-lipped on further support for tourism sector

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government will not make “big promises” on further support for the beleaguered tourism industry.

Speaking on a four-day tour of outback Queensland, Morrison said he hoped the domestic tourism sector would help fill the gap left from the lucrative international sector while Australia’s borders remained closed.

“I’m not going to pre-empt or fly kites on these things,” he said.

“The bread and butter of the tourism industry in Australia has always been the domestic tourism sector.

‘‘In this unusual time, Australians who are big overseas travellers … will want to more and more see their own country. So, that’s going to have its obvious impact.

“We’ll assess those things as we go forward, as we have up until this time. We don’t make big promises. We just get it done. We make the decisions about what’s necessary after working closely with those in the sector about what is needed. That’s how we’ll continue to approach this.”

The comments come as the tourism industry warned the sector needs extended support as it cannot survive on the domestic market alone, particularly with the ongoing uncertainty around state border closures.

Tourism and Transport Forum CEO Margy Osmond said there was “no hope of recovery” while international borders remained closed.

“There is no way that domestic tourism can fill the gap that will be left by inbound international travel,” she told the ABC.

“The government is going to have to think very seriously how it supports this industry for the next couple of years, not just the next couple of months, if it wants to have a tourism industry when we actually reopen our international borders.”