Tourism sector gets $76m boost in wake of ‘biggest challenge in living memory’

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham does not want borders closed a day longer than necessary.

The federal government has announced a $76 million tourism recovery package to encourage both domestic and international visitors to travel again following the devastating bushfires across the country.

The government is dipping into its $2 billion National Bushfire Recovery Fund for the package which includes $20 million for a nationally coordinated domestic marketing initiative and $25 million for a global marketing campaign to drive international tourism.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Australian tourism sector “is facing its biggest challenge in living memory”.

“One in thirteen Australian jobs rely on tourism and hospitality so our $76 million investment is an urgent injection to help all those hotels, restaurants and cafes and tour operators get back on their feet.

“This is make or break for many businesses and tourist hot spots and not just in those areas directly hit by the bushfires.”

The funding will go towards a domestic marketing campaign ($20 million); an international marketing campaign ($25 million); Tourism Australia’s International Media Hosting Program ($9.5 million); support and funding for the Australian Tourism Exchange ($6.5 million); a regional tourism events initiative ($10 million); and support for the mobilisation of global diplomatic network ($5 million).

The government has also committed a further $10 billion to promote regional tourism events.

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said it was “absolutely critical that we help to get people back visiting those communities that rely on tourism”.

“These bushfires have dealt the biggest reputational blow to our tourism industry that it has ever faced internationally,” he said. “Losses caused by cancellations and collapsing booking numbers stretch well beyond those communities directly affected by fire into the many Australian towns that rely on international visitors to sustain tourism jobs.”

The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) welcomed the announcement of the package.

“We applaud the key initiatives nominated to help the inbound tourism sector to recover including an increase in international media and social media influencer engagement along with support for the Australian Tourism Exchange which is our largest annual trade show,” said ATEC managing director Peter Shelley.

“While tourism businesses on the frontline of recent bushfires have an immediate need for support in their recovery, our global reputation as a holiday destination has been significantly impacted and we need to act urgently to reassure visitors that Australia is open for business.”