Byron Bay joins tourism operators in appeal for more assistance – warning half-price flights plan will not stop businesses from going
Byron Bay joins tourism operators in appeal for more assistance – warning half-price flights plan will not stop businesses from going under as industry reels from $90billion losses
- More than 100,000 people cashed in on cheap Qantas and Jetstar flights
- Destinations include Gold Coast, Whitsundays, Mackay, Launceston and more
- Tourism expert said it’s not enough to reboot the industry amid $90billion losses
Byron Bay has joined tourism operators in calling for more wage subsidies and direct financial support, warning half-price flights will not be enough for their businesses to stay afloat.
More than 100,000 people cashed in on cheap Qantas and Jetstar flights within hours of the taxpayer-backed tickets going on sale on Thursday.
Interstate return tickets to hotspots including Cairns, Adelaide, Darwin, Hobart, Maroochydore and the Gold Coast will be subsidised by the federal government under its $1.2billion plan until July 31.
But Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson called for JobKeeper payments to be reinstated for specific areas, after a coronavirus outbreak forced the cancellation of the Bluesfest music festival.
The Byron Shire mayor is calling for more government support to help businesses in the region hit hard by Covid restrictions. Pictured, a staff member wearing a mask at a Byron Bay cafe this week as required by new government restrictions
The Bluesfest music festival, which was to be held in Byron Bay from April 1 to 5, was cancelled after Covid cases in the northern NSW town, severely impacting the local economy
Mr Richardson said the cancellation would blow a $100million hole in the local economy.
‘I’d love if the federal government could look to see if they could do an area-specific exemption of winding back JobKeeper, or just continue it a little while, to allow a whole sector and a whole region to get back on its feet.’
Simon Westaway from the Australian Tourism Industry Council said bankrolled airfares were a good start in helping to revive the industry but that it is just one stepping stone needed to help the sector back onto its feet.
The industry lost about $90 billion last year, with hospitality and accommodation workers plunged into a free-fall of job losses.
Mr Westaway said international borders would still be closed for some time, and there were bound to be difficulties around coronavirus flare-ups, such as current outbreaks in Brisbane and Byron Bay.
Tourism operators have no control over lockdowns and domestic border arrangements.
The Farm at Byron Bay was temporarily closed after individuals who tested positive for Covid visited the site
Australians are able to purchase half-price flight tickets to a variety of holiday spots around the country from Thursday as part of a government scheme to support tourist destinations (pictured Elyse Knowles in the Whitsundays)
‘Our industry is right in the eye of the storm here,’ Mr Westaway told the ABC.
He is calling for targeted support for the tourism sector, through one-off payments or payroll support.
‘It doesn’t necessarily need to be JobKeeper, but certainly, a type of wage subsidy arrangement is certainly a really clean way of doing it.’
The tickets are for trips booked between April 1 and September 30 with around 46,000 discounted airfares on offer each week.
The government initially expected around 800,000 discounted tickets to be bought, but there will be no limits on the number of seats passengers can buy.
The tickets are for trips booked between April 1 and September 30 with about 46,000 discounted airfares on offer each week (pictured Broome in WA)
Half-priced tickets will go on sale each week until July 31 (pictured Kangaroo Island SA, a destination included in the package)
The half priced fares mean a one-way flight currently going from Sydney to Hamilton Island could be as little as $75.
The same deal from Melbourne to Kangaroo Island in South Australia could be available at $130, while a single flight from Sydney to Broome could be discounted to $396.
The areas involved have been chosen because they rely on tourism for their wealth and are particularly dependent on aviation for their visitor numbers.
The scheme is part of a huge bail-out package for the tourism sector which employs 611,000 Australians and has been crippled by the Covid-induced international border shutdown.
Far North Queensland
Melbourne – Cairns
Sydney – Cairns
Darwin – Cairns
New South Wales
Melbourne – Merimbula
Adelaide – Gold Coast
Melbourne – Gold Coast
Sydney – Gold Coast
Canberra – Gold Coast
Avalon – Gold Coast
Melbourne – Launceston
Sydney – Launceston
Brisbane – Launceston
Melbourne – Devonport
Melbourne – Burnie
Darwin – Broome
Sydney – Broome
Melbourne – Broome
Whitsundays and Mackay
Sydney – Proserpine
Sydney – Hamilton Island
Sunshine Coast (Queensland)
Sydney – Maroochydore
Melbourne – Maroochydore
Adelaide – Maroochydore
Adelaide – Alice Springs
Sydney – Uluru
Brisbane – Alice Springs
Melbourne – Alice Springs
Perth – Alice Springs
Sydney – Alice Springs
Brisbane – Uluru
Melbourne – Uluru
Melbourne (Avalon Airport)
Gold Coast – Avalon
Sydney – Avalon
Adelaide – Kingscote
Flights, routes and the total number of tickets will be driven by demand and are subject to final discussions with the airlines