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Tourism operators appeal for more support

Tourism operators faced with indefinite international border restrictions are appealing for more support from the federal government.

Australians are being warned that international travel is unlikely to resume until next year, even as coronavirus vaccines are rolled out.

Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive Margy Osmond says the sector cannot survive on domestic travel alone, particularly if state borders keep closing.

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

“Essentially your average Chinese visitor to Australia probably spends $8500 while they’re here. Your average Aussie who heads off for a holiday is probably spending about $1500.

“Make no mistake, while international borders remain closed, we have no hope of recovery.”

Ms Osmond is calling for nationally consistent protocols around state border restrictions, after snap shutdowns caused chaos over the Christmas period.

She is also urging the federal government to provide more payroll support once the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme ends in March.

“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,” Ms Osmond said.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has consistently stated the JobKeeper scheme will not be extended beyond the end of March.

But there are growing expectations he could announce new, targeted support packages for the hardest hit sectors such as tourism, hospitality and major events.

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