January 18, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

With the tourism industry suffering the fallout of Australia’s highest ever COVID-19 case numbers over the peak season for operators, the Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) is calling on the Federal Government to reintroduce the Cash Flow Boost program which helped small and medium sized businesses through the initial pandemic downturn in 2020.

The program, which was worth some $35.5 billion, saw businesses keep the tax they withheld from employees’ wages through part of 2020.

“This is the worst it’s ever been for the tourism industry,” said Deputy Chair of ATIC, Daniel Gschwind.

“The summer period is our peak season, providing revenue that takes businesses through the winter and they’re not seeing it come in. Too many businesses are staring at disaster.

“The tourism industry has already been decimated over the past two years and these businesses simply have nothing left to fall back on.

“Tourism businesses were hopeful that this current peak season would be a revival of their financial outlook and those hopes have now been dashed,” said Gschwind.

A tourism industry survey covering the final quarter of 2021 showed an average 52 percent decrease in business for operators compared to the same quarter in 2019.

“The data shows what we already know, that after a devastating two years and no hope of an upturn, tourism operators desperately need support in order to survive,” said Gschwind.

“The Government’s Cash Flow Boost program was a great success when it was last implemented – and it needs to come back to support devastated tourism businesses across the country.”