Following this week’s release of new unemployment modelling by the Department of Treasury and Finance, the Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) welcomed last night’s Cabinet approval of the $24.5 billion Appropriation Bill 2020 that delivers new emergency funding to combat coronavirus and support jobs and businesses through to recovery.
VTIC is encouraging Government to ensure the allocation of these new funds will include a strong focus on delivering much needed support to Victoria’s visitor economy, an industry that employed over 230,000 Victorians across the state prior to the recent crisis.
VTIC Chief Executive Felicia Mariani said, “VTIC commends the Andrew’s Government on its responsiveness in supporting businesses across the state to weather the catastrophic circumstances that have eventuated over the past six weeks.
“While every business is reeling under the weight of this crisis right now, there is however no industry that has been hit as hard, as deeply and for such a sustained period of time as tourism, hospitality, events and the arts.
“The visitor economy is at the heart of Victoria’s vibrant economic fabric and supporting the tourism and hospitality sector to recover as quickly as possible can help in the efforts to super-charge our recovery and allow the state to get thousands of people back to work – quickly.”
The modelling indicated unemployment is expected to peak at as high as 11 percent in the September quarter this year, with accommodation and hospitality impacted most, with unemployment predicted to reach 25.6 percent.
“The tourism, hospitality and events sectors have led the charge for economic growth in the state over the past five years. These current projections clearly illustrate the huge body-blow that has pummelled our industry, not just now, but dating back to the beginning of the year when bushfires ravaged the Northeast and smashed our peak summer season across the state,” Ms Mariani said.
With the process for how restrictions may be lifted still unclear at this point, VTIC implores the Government to provide further critical funding to ensure Melbourne, and indeed Victoria, retains its enviable reputation as a world-renowned destination post COVID-19.
“Melbourne in particular is critically exposed given its reliance on international visitors, major events and business events to drive tourism performance. All of these activities will be severely impacted over the next 12-18 months as borders remain closed and large gatherings for major events will remain challenging.
“Right now, there is also the unique opportunity to invest in major game-changing infrastructure development across the state that can reposition Victoria’s competitiveness. With the short to medium term focus on a domestic-led recovery, creating new and compelling experiences can ensure we capitalise on every opportunity in the highly competitive domestic market that will emerge.
“While we respect there will be many calls on this latest round of funding, all of which are very deserving, Victoria’s visitor economy can underpin this push to put the State’s recovery into overdrive.
“It’s imperative that Government supports an industry that can ensure Victoria retains the powerful brand credentials it has been lauded for globally for decades,” Ms Mariani concluded.
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