Tehan confident tourism will ‘bounce back quickly’

Tourism Australia’s annual conference Destination Australia was held last week at CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park at a time when the outlook for the tourism sector was increasingly optimistic.

With the conference theme “Reimagining the future of tourism”, Tourism Minister Dan Tehan said he was confident the sector “will bounce back quickly” after what has been a hugely challenging period.

“We are seeing restrictions – like mask mandates and density limits – easing as well as the return of international arrivals,” he said.

“Prior to the pandemic, 9.5 million international visitors travelled to Australia and spent over $45 billion. We are all looking forward to welcoming those visitors once again.

“Already, there are more than 1.23 million people with an eligible visa entitled to visit Australia, if they are double vaccinated.”

Research by Tourism Research Australia predicts a strong rebound in domestic tourism in 2022 returning to pre-pandemic levels.

The federal government has launched a $40 million international marketing campaign called Don’t Go Small as part of a long-term strategy to restart tourism to Australia, with further investment in tourism marketing campaigns internationally to come in the second half of the year.

“Over the last year I have met with key stakeholders in a number of our international tourism markets including the USA, Singapore, Japan and India and their message to me has been consistent – they cannot wait to get back to Australia for a holiday,” said Tehan.

“I am confident that international visitation will rebound strongly and Tourism Australia market research indicates that Australia is still a sought after destination.”

The renewed the Australia-India Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Tourism Cooperation will see the two countries promote travel and advance cooperation on tourism policy, data sharing, training and industry engagement.

“While we welcome brighter prospects for 2022, the Morrison Government is also working to ensure we are best-placed to grow tourism and support more jobs and businesses,” he said.

Tehan also said the government was looking at ways to alleviate the current labour shortages across the tourism industry.

“In January, we announced that eligible international students and working holiday makers who arrive in Australia from 19 January 2022 will have their visa application fees refunded for a period of 8 weeks and 12 weeks respectively,” he said.

“The government has also temporarily removed the limit on student visa holders’ working hours until the end of 2022.

“In June 2021, changes to the Working Holiday Maker visa were also announced to provide more support to the tourism and hospitality sectors, including to expand the number of locations (now taking in Northern Australia and other remote areas) where tourism and hospitality work can count as ‘specified work’ for Working Holiday Maker visas.

“We understand how important these traveller cohorts are to many parts of the tourism and hospitality sectors and these measures are designed to provide the support that is needed.”