Premier Daniel Andrews’ announcement today of the Roadmap to Reopening provided no relief for the state’s critical tourism and events industry, according to the state’s peak industry body representing the sector, the Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC).
VTIC Chief Executive, Felicia Mariani, said: “The tourism and events sector has been virtually shut down for the past six months. From the roadmap outlined today, we can see that any pathway to recovery is still some time away for our industry.
“We completely understand and support the need for a careful and cautious exit from lockdown, but we cannot overstate the dire challenges facing an industry that contributed over $32 billion to the state’s economy prior to this crisis and employed over 230,000 people across our state.
“It’s clear there’s still much input required from the tourism and events sector to construct our Roadmap to Reopening. We will ensure the industry’s voice is informing this progression. We must avoid a re-run of announcements being made that don’t allow our operators the time required to properly prepare and react,” Ms Mariani said.
To support these critical next steps, VTIC has formed a Reopening Reference Group that will deliver insights from the broadest cross section of all the sectors that make up the tourism industry. VTIC will also activate its sector Policy Committees to ensure the industry is properly informing the staged progression being applied.
“VTIC’s unique connection to all aspects of Victoria’s tourism and events industry allows us to bring together the necessary insights that government can rely on in populating this roadmap for our future. Time is not our friend right now and we need to move through this process as quickly and efficiently as we can.
“We must understand, however, what are the definitive health targets that will signpost progression from one category to the next for the industry to plan and move forward with confidence.”
Conservative projections estimate that $23 billion will be wiped from spend that visitors would contribute to our state economy, with at least 100,000 jobs lost to the sector. This is particularly impactful for regional areas, where tourism employs over 90,000 people.
“The roadmap defined today nods to at least late October, early November before we see activation of our tourism sector. This will see many tourism businesses unable to maintain staff, even with JobKeeper, given the financial impost of related on-costs with no revenue in the immediate future,’’ Ms Mariani said.
“Victoria cannot afford to lose the incredible experiences and events that are in our DNA and that underpin our personality on the world stage, but that’s where we are heading as the industry struggles to hang on long enough to get to the other side of this crisis.”
At the end of June, VTIC delivered a Visitor Economy Recovery Submission to Government calling for a $1.3 billion investment over the four year forward estimates to reinvigorate the industry and re-establish its credentials as a global drawcard.
“The tourism and events industry was the first to be affected by the global Coronavirus crisis and, as this roadmap clearly illustrates, we will be the last to come out the other side. The industry needs to see significant investment in our future so we can be here to rebuild our credibility and appeal as a vibrant and exciting destination of choice across the country and around the globe.”