Tourism Australia Updates

15 June 

Evolution in TA Communications - As Australia moves towards a COVID-19 Recovery we are changing the cadence of our communications. These changes reflect Australia’s gradual return to business as usual, and the good news that our industry is on the long road to return. In particular, this note will shift from three times a week to once a week each Monday. This note will continue to be tailored towards the latest industry support that has become available, insights into our current and future operating environment, and the latest news and information that may impact our industry. Additionally, our Friday webinars will move to fortnightly from weekly, and each alternate week on a Friday we will be producing a new TA video update – the first of which will come next week. Essentials newsletter will of course still continue to come each Wednesday evening. 

 

TA webinar this Friday -  including Sir Lynton Crosby & Matt Cameron-Smith - Our next webinar will take place this Friday 19 June at 11am. First up we will be hearing insights from Sir Lynton Crosby from the CT Group, who will be sharing the latest sentiment tracking they have done around the world, and in Australia. We will then be talking to Matt Cameron-Smith from AAT Kings about how they are planning for recovery, and how they are facing the challenge head on including some practical tips for operating in a compliant manner. Then, last but certainly not least, we will hear from TA’s EGM Events Penny Lion on the future of Business Events, and the approach TA is taking . 

 

Register here. 

Kind regards, 

Pip 


 

INDUSTRY - SUPPORT 

WA

Tourism WA’s Tourism Business Survival Grant Program opens

Tourism WA’s Tourism Business Survival Grant Program is now open for online applications to support tourism businesses that can demonstrate extreme hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandeGrants of $25,000 to $100,000 are available from a $4 million funding pool through a competitive application process.
The program aims to ensure a viable tourism industry in Western Australia, enabling the survival of businesses that attract visitors to the State. Successful applicants can use the funding for a range of recovery costs including fixed costs and overheads, equipment deployment and activation, staff recruitment and training, reinstating supply-chain requirements and licenses and marketing activities.

Applications close at 4pm AWST July 6, 2020. For more information and to apply visit the WA Tourism Recovery Program page.

ACT 

ACT: Jobs for Canberrans Fund extended 

As part of Canberra's Recovery Plan to support local jobs, the fund will be expanded to $28 million, supporting almost 500 Canberra families and households. 

These jobs are targeted at Canberrans who have lost their job due to COVID-19 and are ineligible for the Commonwealth's JobKeeper program, including people who previously relied on casual employment, international visa holders and international students. 

For more information on the fund, eligibility and how to apply, visit the ACT COVID-19 website

NEW SOUTH WALES 

NSW Government launches COVID Check for businesses 

Businesses will be able to check, test and promote their COVID Safe credentials with the launch of the NSW Government’s online COVID Safe Check. The COVID Safe Check is available at www.nsw.gov.au  

NSW: Music event brings 1,000 COVID-Safe gigs to Sydney and New South Wales  

A new music event will bring 1,000 COVID-safe gigs to Sydney and regional NSW in November, giving Australian artists a welcome boost and turbocharging live music venues across the state. ‘Great Southern Nights’ is a NSW Government initiative delivered by Destination NSW in partnership with the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) to support the recovery of the live music, entertainment and hospitality industries.  

NORTHERN TERRITORY 

NT: Tourism Voucher Scheme to Support Territory Businesses  

The Territory Government has announced a tourism voucher scheme to encourage Territorians to support local tourism businesses until borders re-open to interstate visitors. More than 26,000 vouchers worth $200 will be available from 1 July, for Territorians to put towards a tourism experience, tour, accommodation, hire car or recreational fishing charter, so long as they match the spend with their own money. The $5.2 million voucher initiative is supported by a marketing campaign ‘Never have I ever…’ encouraging Territorians to book a local tourism experience they have never got around to enjoying for themselves. From 1 July, Territorians aged 18 years and over will be able to register and redeem their Territory Tourism Voucher at www.territoryvoucher.nt.gov.au. Voucher holders will then be able to book their chosen tourism experience online, over the phone or in person through their local Visitor Information Centres in Darwin, Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs. The vouchers must be used on a bookable product available through these Centres. Hospitality venues will also be able to benefit from the vouchers by packaging their offerings with a tourism product such as a ‘Stay and Meal’ deal. Vouchers are valid for 30 days, with bookings and travel to be completed by 31 October 2020. 

QUEENSLAND 

QLD: New campaign to deliver $1 billion for Queensland tourism operators 

A new tourism campaign, Queensland – ‘You’re Good to Go’ – is projected to deliver a $1 billion in overnight accommodation takings for hard hit tourism operators over the next four months. The campaign encourages Queenslanders to explore their own state. Queensland's tourism businesses can get involved in a number of ways to leverage the 'Good to Go' message, ranging from no-cost opportunities, to being able to utilise TEQ's new Industry Media Agency (IMATE) to plan, book and deliver individual campaigns that benefit from leveraging TEQ's media buy. Businesses will be able to display the 'Good to Go' stamp if they have the required COVID Safe documentation in place. For further details, click here

QLD: Registrations open for new tourism infrastructure projects  

Registrations are open for $25 million worth of funding for shovel-ready tourism projects.  Minister for State Development, Tourism and Innovation Kate Jones said successful recipients would be required to start within three months of approval. For more information or to view the guidelines, visit ditid.qld.gov.au/our-work/growing-tourism-infrastructure-fund 

QLD: Multi-million dollar tourism fund to secure flights for Queensland  

The QLD Government will provide $5 million to 15 Queensland airports to secure new domestic flights to fast-track the tourism industry’s economic recovery. The initiative follows the Government’s recent partnership with Whitsundays Regional Council that secured Alliance Airlines flights to fly four times a week between Brisbane and the Whitsunday Coast (Proserpine) Airport starting on 22 June 2020.  

QLD: More support for zoos and mobile animal exhibitors 

Queensland businesses that exhibit animals have been provided financial support to help care of their animals under a new Queensland Government COVID-19 emergency funding package. Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said, "While support packages have recently been confirmed for tourism businesses and iconic animal parks at a State level and zoos and aquariums at a Federal level, the new assistance is helping animal exhibitors who were not eligible for those packages." For more information visit daf.qld.gov.au or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

QLD: Government support for Cairns Aquarium  

The QLD Government has announced a $3.5 million grant to Cairns Aquarium to help local tourism sustain and recover during the global COVID-19 pandemic. The funding would be provided from the State Government’s Industry Support Package, established to help support businesses through the coronavirus.  

QLD: Government support for theme park workers 

QLD has announced $11 million to support Gold Coast tourism icons to continue to pay workers through the COVID-19 pandemic. The Premier said the funding – part of a $50 million package announced last month – would support Village Roadshow, Ardent Leisure and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to retain staff while they wait for other support from banks and the Federal Government. 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA 

SA: $15 million Regional Growth Fund to stimulate economy 

A special $15 million stimulus round of the SA’s Regional Growth Fund has been brought forward to help fast track the recovery of regional economies from COVID-19 restrictions. Applications are now open until Monday 6 July for grants of between $50,000 and $2 million to unlock business investment to jump-start economy-growing projects in regions across the State. Find more information and apply here.  

SA: Iconic tourism works to be fast-tracked as part of Kangaroo Island rebuild 

Up to $52 million of works have started to rebuild and rejuvenate Kangaroo Island’s nature-based tourism economy, creating hundreds of much-needed jobs following the summer’s devastating bushfires and impacts from coronavirus. Works to rebuild some of Kangaroo Island’s most iconic sites will be fast-tracked including the boardwalk to Remarkable Rocks, the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail and essential infrastructure in Flinders Chase National Park which were all destroyed by the bushfires.  

TASMANIA 

TAS: ‘Make yourself at Home’ campaign launched to promote intrastate travel  

Tasmanians are being urged to get out and explore Tasmania as part of a new Tourism Tasmania campaign, ‘Make yourself at Home.’ For more information about the ‘Make Yourself at Home’ campaign visit: www.makeyourselfathome.com.au 

VICTORIA 

VIC: Camping and Caravan boost as restrictions ease 

The Victorian Government has allocated $18.9 million to maintain and upgrade public visitor sites and infrastructure including recreation reserves, camping spots and picnic facilities. The Government is also making available more than $2.5 million dollars in grants for 25 projects to enhance the visitor experience at campgrounds and caravan parks providing a further boost as tourists return to regional areas. A second round of grants worth $2 million will be brought forward next month to provide further economic stimulus. 

VIC: Creative Recovery for Bushfire-Affected Regions 

Victorian communities affected by the summer bushfires will be given a boost through a $700,000 Creative Recovery grants program. It will back tourism-boosting projects and events, support creative businesses to bounce back and fund two new on-the-ground roles to support and train local creatives. For full program details, visit Regional Arts Victoria’s website rav.net.au 

VIC: Round 2 of the Creative Activations Fund announced 

The Victorian Government is supporting the creation of large-scale art featuring silos, app trails and open-air galleries under a program that will connect communities, boost cultural tourism and create jobs across the state. The first round of the Government’s ‘Creative Activations Fund’ has provided grants topping $550,000 to back the innovative and ambitious art. Applications for round two of the Creative Activations Fund will open in August 2020 and will prioritise projects in the Wimmera Mallee region. For program guidelines, visit here

AUSTRALIA 

CTH: Government extends support for Australia's aviation industry 

A range of initiatives currently supporting the aviation sector have been extended, as part of more than $1.2 billion of measures assisting the industry including the Domestic and Regional Aviation Network Support programs. 

The Australian Government has also extended its financial relief to the aviation industry through: 

  • Extending a range of measures under the $715 million Australian Airline Financial Relief Package, including ongoing refunds and fee waivers for aviation fuel excise, Airservices charges on domestic airline operations and domestic and regional aviation security charges; 
  • Extending the $100 million Regional Airlines Funding Assistance program until 31 December 2020 or until allocated funds are exhausted, whichever comes first, to support regional airlines to continue operating; and 
  • Allowing leased federal airports to seek partial relief from land tax charges to 31 December 2020, in line with state government land tax relief arrangements. 

INSIGHTS 

ABS reports record fall in overseas trips for Australian travellers  

Australia has recorded its largest ever decrease in overseas travel with the number of Australians returning home after a short-term trip down 98.1 per cent on the same time last year, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). With few Australians leaving the country, these decreases, on the back of record falls in March, continue to show the effects of travel restrictions put in place by the Australian government in response to COVID-19. ABS Director of Migration Statistics Jenny Dobak said 17,000 Australians returned home in April 2020 compared with 916,400 one year earlier. "Short-term visitor arrivals also fell to 2,200 trips, a 99.7 per cent decrease from the 700,400 recorded in April 2019," Ms Dobak said. 

IATA coronavirus travel regulations map 

IATA have produced a travel regulations map detailing the status of border restrictions internationally. View the map here

INFORMATION

 

AUSTRALIA COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS  

AUSTRALIA 

CTH: National Cabinet agrees next steps easing coronavirus restrictions 

The National Cabinet last Friday agreed further measures in relation to Australia’s COVID-19 response. A summary of some of the key outcomes is below: 

 

Progress on restrictions 

National Cabinet reconfirmed the commitment to the 3 step framework for a COVID-safe Australia to be completed in July 2020. 

 

Indoor Gatherings 

National Cabinet agreed to remove the 100 person limit on non-essential indoor gatherings under the Step 3 Framework and replace it with: 

  • 1 person per 4sqm; 
  • staying 1.5 metres away from other people whenever and wherever possible; 
  • maintaining good hand washing and cough/sneeze hygiene; 
  • staying home when unwell, and getting tested if you have respiratory symptoms or a fever; 
  • downloading the COVIDSafe app to allow identification and traceability of people that have been in contact with a confirmed COVID case; and 
  • developing COVIDSafe plans for workplaces and premises. 

States and territories will determine when to implement these changes under Step 3. 

 

Outdoor events including stadiums 

For outdoor venues up to 40,000 spectator capacity, ticketed and seated events will be able to be held in front of a crowd of no more than 25 per cent of capacity under Step 3. 

States and territories will make decisions on when to move to Step 3 under COVIDSafe plans. 

At a minimum, COVID-Safe arrangements must be maintained including: 

  • 1 person per 4sqm; 
  • staying 1.5 metres away from other people whenever and wherever possible; 
  • maintaining good hand washing and cough/sneeze hygiene; 
  • staying home when unwell, and getting tested if you have respiratory symptoms or a fever; and 
  • downloading the COVIDSafe app to allow identification and traceability of people that have been in contact with a confirmed COVID case. 

National Cabinet will meet again on 26 June 2020. Read the full statement here

ACT 

ACT: Next Stage of Canberra’s Recovery Plan to be implemented this Friday  

More community and business activities will be able to commence  in the ACT from 12 noon on Friday 19 June - with a new maximum occupancy limit per enclosed space of 100 persons.  Competitive sports will resume, cinemas, theatres and indoor play centres will also re-open and businesses will be allowed up to 100 people in their venues, while maintaining social distancing. To view the changes that will take effect visit here

NEW SOUTH WALES 

NSW: Further COVID-19 restrictions set to ease from 1 July 

From July 1, the new rules keeping the state COVID-Safe mean: 

  • The number of people allowed inside indoor venues will be determined by the ‘one person per 4 square metre’ rule, with no upper limit. This includes function centres. All activity must be seated only. 
  • Cultural and sporting events at outdoor venues with a maximum capacity of 40,000 will be allowed up to 25 percent of their normal capacity. Events must be ticketed and seated and follow strict guidelines. 
  • On compassionate grounds, restrictions on funerals will immediately be eased to allow the four square metre rule to apply. 
  • All other restrictions including 20 guests inside the home and 20 for outside gatherings remain the same. 

For the latest information please go to nsw.gov.au/covid-19 

NORTHERN TERRITORY 

NT: Staged re-opening plans announced for Kakadu and Uluru-Kata National Parks  

Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta and National Parks, will be able to welcome visitors from Friday, 19 June 2020.  Overnight camping will not be permitted in Kakadu during the first stage of re‐opening.  

VICTORIA 

VIC: Restrictions easing from 22 June: Ski fields and ski accommodation to open 

Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews yesterday announced further easing of restrictions across the State.  

From 22 June: 

  • Ski accommodation will be permitted to open. 
  • Pubs and clubs, will be able to host up to 50 seated patrons, with no requirement to purchase a meal. 
  • Restaurants and cafes will also be able to increase the number of patrons to 50. Cinemas, concert venues, theatres and auditoriums can open, also with up to 50 people per space. The same increased limit will apply to galleries, museums and amusement parks. 

From 20 July: 

  • Holiday accommodation and camping sites, with communal spaces like showers and kitchens will be available to visitors. 
  • Electronic gaming areas at pubs, clubs and the casino will be reopened with strict distancing, cleaning and hygiene requirements; and 
  • Indoor sports centres and physical recreation spaces like gyms will be able to open to 20 people per space, with a cap of up to 10 per group for those over the age of 18. More information about the upcoming changes is available here

WESTERN AUSTRALIA 

WA: Rottnest Island and Kalbarri Skywalk reopen to visitors as Phase 3 of COVID-19 roadmap commences 

Rottnest Island on Saturday reopened to visitors as the State entered Phase 3 of the Western Australian roadmap. In the week since the reopening was confirmed, Rottnest Island Authority took over 1,800 bookings. The anticipated Kalbarri Skywalk in Kalbarri National Park has also re-opened, providing a major tourism boost for the Mid-West region. The opening of the universally accessible Skywalk marks the culmination of a $24 million project.  

TASMANIA 

TAS: Tasmania brings forward easing of restrictions – borders may lift in July 

Tasmania will further ease restrictions from noon, Wednesday 17 June. The easing will see outdoor and indoor gatherings increase to 80 people, where venue capacity and spacing allows, while 20 people will be able to visit a home. Stage 3 restrictions will now be brought forward to 26 June.  Subject to public health advice and the state of play regarding the virus in other jurisdictions, a date when the State’s border restrictions will be lifted will also be confirmed. This is likely to be later  in July. 

GLOBAL 

New Zealand lifts all COVID-19 restrictions – border curbs remain in place 

New Zealand has eliminated transmission of the novel coronavirus and has lifted all containment measures except for border curbs. Controls at the borders will remain in place for all people entering New Zealand, including health screening and testing for all arrivals, and mandatory 14-day managed quarantine or isolation. 

WHO updates guidance on planning recommendations for mass gatherings 

WHO has published an updated interim guidance on Key planning recommendations for mass gatherings in the context of COVID-19 on 29 May 2020. This general guidance is an updated version of the guidance first published on 14 February and revised on 19 March 2020. The current version reflects the evolution of the pandemic and the most recent WHO recommendations on COVID-19. The guidance provides advice to host governments, health authorities and event organizers on containing COVID-19 risks associated with a mass gathering, and on mitigating the resulting likelihood of strain on health services. A mass gathering indicator has been included in the COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) Monitoring and Evaluation Framework. This will help monitor how health systems prepare and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as how they tackle risks associated with mass gatherings. 

Hong Kong extends quarantine restrictions for inbound travellers 

Hong Kong has extended quarantine restrictions for inbound travellers as it grapples with a new cluster of coronavirus infections. Mandatory 14-day isolation periods will apply to travellers entering the territory from the Chinese mainland, Macao, and Taiwan until July 7, two weeks later than originally stipulated, the Hong Kong Food and Health Bureau announced. Similar quarantine restrictions will remain in place until Sept. 18 for those flying in from abroad. 

China to allow banned foreign airlines to resume some flights 

China said Thursday it will allow foreign airlines that previously operated flights to the country but are now barred due to virus control measures to resume limited flights, a day after the U.S. said it would launch a reciprocal ban on all Chinese carriers. The announcement by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) could defuse the latest clash between the world’s two largest economies, following U.S. President Donald Trump’s Wednesday announcement that all Chinese airlines would be barred from operating flights to the U.S. effective June 16 or sooner. 

Airlines to challenge UK quarantine policy 

The head of budget airline Ryanair says he believes the United Kingdom's coronavirus quarantine will be struck down by the courts or dropped within weeks, as some of Europe's biggest airlines prepare to file a legal challenge to the policy. Britain introduced a 14-day quarantine for international arrivals on Monday, leading to a major clash between Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Government and the airline industry. 

New York Times postpones January 2021 travel show to 2022 

One of the largest consumer and trade travel shows in the U.S. is being postponed, even though it isn’t scheduled to take place for January 2021.  

 

 

5 June

TOURISM AUSTRALIA INITIATIVES 

TA: NEW one-stop-shop interactive map to help industry and consumers travel again 

The TA team has worked with State and Territory Tourism Organisations to develop an Australian Travel Status Map. The map is intended as a one-stop-shop to interstate border restrictions that will help consumers and industry navigate and plan the varying and constantly changing travel restrictions in each of our states and territories.  The response to the map has been extremely positive with coverage from a number of media sources and a consistent hit rate. 

We will continue to evolve the map as the external world changes, and as we receive your feedback.  

You can view the map here.  

TA: NEW Tourism Research & Insights 

In light of the current travel restrictions, we have refreshed the Research and Insights Hub on our corporate website with more content relevant to the travel domestic market.  

New information includes a number of factsheets, access to our recent webinar series and: 

  • A Domestic Performance Dashboard based on the National Visitor Survey

  

TA: NEW Road Trip Planner 

Tourism Australia has launched a new Road Trip Planner to help Aussies dream and plan their perfect Aussie adventure. The planner will help Australians re-discover their own backyard. 

INDUSTRY SUPPORT 

NEW COVID-19 GUIDELINES & ACCREDITATION 

SA: New guidelines for transport and tour vehicles 

SA Health has published new guidance for transport and tour vehicles (excluding public transport) of all types (including buses, mini vans, cars, aircraft, helicopters, ferries and boats) to run safely and manage the health risks associated with COVID-19. The guidelines have been developed in consultation with SATC. View the Principles for Transport and Tour Vehicles here.  

 WTTC launches global safety and hygiene stamp and ‘Safe Travels’ protocols 

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has developed a stamp that will allow travellers to recognise governments and businesses around the world which have adopted health and hygiene global standardised protocols, prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The stamp has received the backing of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). Eligible businesses such as hotels, restaurants, airlines, cruise lines, tour operators, restaurants, outdoor shopping, transportation, and airports will be able to use the stamp once the health and hygiene protocols, outlined by WTTC, have been implemented. WTTC has also created a series of short protocol reports for at least nine industries within Travel and Tourism to align the private sector behind common standards to ensure the safety of its workforce and travellers. Learn more about the stamp and read the protocols here

CART Guidance for Air Travel through the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis  

The International Council for Aviation Organisation,  ‘Council Aviation Recovery Task Force’ (CART) has developed ‘Take-Off’ guidance for international aviation, in order to protect the health, safety, and security of the travelling public during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The CART ‘Take-off guidance’ includes a section on Public Health Risk Mitigation Measures, in addition to four operational modules relating to: Airport GuidelinesAircraft GuidelinesCrew Guidelines; and Cargo Guidelines.  The work of CART is aimed at providing practical, aligned guidance to governments and industry operators in order to restart the international air transport sector and recover from the impacts of COVID-19 on a coordinated global basis 

UNWTO releases global tourism guidelines to restart tourism 

The UNWTO has released global tourism guidelines to support government and the private sector to recover from COVID-19. The guidelines are underpinned by the pillars of mitigating the economic impact of COVID-19, developing safety protocols and coordinated responses and fostering innovation. The guidelines focus on fostering the digital transformation of destinations and companies with free online training and the use of technology to promote social distancing in hotels and tourist destinations. The UNWTO has also strengthened its partnership with Google to promote digital learning and online skills training. The guidelines include recommendations for the recovery of meetings and events, with hygiene and operations, and product and marketing advice covered. 

BUSINESS MENTORING & TRAINING 

 

NSW: FREE Visitor ‘Economy Support Program’ for Sydney Surrounds South and Illawarra 

Destination Wollongong has partnered with KPMG Wollongong, alongside Destination Sydney Surrounds South and Regional Development Australia (Illawarra) to offer a free ‘Visitor Economy Support’ program to local industry. The program will be open to 50 small businesses that contribute to the visitor economy, primarily in the hospitality and tourism industries. It will provide free one-on-one access to the KPMG Wollongong team specialising in sector-specific financial management. The program will be implemented in five stages, with the process including a high-level business review, one-on-one consultations with the KPMG Wollongong team, delivery of a tailored business action plan, a marketing review with Destination Wollongong, and on-going mentoring. Businesses will also benefit from ongoing KPMG updates relevant to the hospitality and tourism industries for the next six months. Applications close on Wednesday 10 June, 2020. More information on program and the application form can be found here

SA:SATC launches FREE COVID-19 awareness training program for the tourism industry

The free 30-minute online course is designed to give employees and business owners in the tourism and hospitality sector the basics needed to understand prevention and control of the spread of COVID-19, as well as give customers a COVID-clean confidence. The training course was developed by the South Australian Tourism Commission in partnership with South Australian-based Health Safety Environment Australia (HSEA), and in liaison with SA Health. It is not an accreditation course for businesses - it is a simple awareness course designed to help individuals understand the basics to assist them in adapting to a “COVID-safe” way of operating.  

  

CAMPAIGN ACTIVITY 

 

NSW: No better time to love NSW – tourism industry and regions set to reboot 2020  

On June 1, Destination NSW released its list of top NSW travel experiences, ‘213 Ways to Reboot 2020 in NSW’, so travellers can make the most of the 213 days that remain in the year and start planning their ultimate trip to Sydney and New South Wales. Supporting the latest phase of the NSW Government's tourism recovery campaign, Now's The Time to Love NSW, the list of 213 NSW travel adventures depicts an array of diverse and unique experiences across the state. As part of this latest phase, Destination NSW will also be executing a social media campaign targeted to the international markets of the USA, UK, New Zealand and India, which will showcase inspirational destinations from around Sydney and NSW, to help consumers with their future dreaming and planning. Tourism businesses can get involved in the campaign by signing up to Get Connectedwith Destination NSW so they are featured on VisitNSW.com, which is the call to action for all marketing activity that will roll out in the coming months. More information is available here

WA: New ‘Wander Out Yonder’ campaign encourages West Australians to book an adventure at home 

Tourism Western Australia has launched its biggest intrastate tourism campaign, to encourage West Australians to get behind the state by booking an Adventure in WA. The campaign has launched with high-impact press and radio. Digital, video, print, out-of-home and social activity will run through to September 2020.  Targeting residents from all over WA, the campaign will inspire locals to take a different type of holiday, by exploring locations they’ve never been and embarking on experiences they’ve never had, with friendly operators who are ready to welcome them. Tourism WA is working with the Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) and Tourism Council WA to promote compelling experiences and road trips, to encourage locals to holiday in WA and book direct with industry partners. To have your product included in the campaign, contact: Destination Perth; Australia’s South West; Australia’s North West; Australia’s Golden Outback; Australia’s Coral Coast and WAITOC. If you’re not sure which RTO is applicable to your business, contact the Industry Support Team.  

SA: ‘Welcome Back’ campaign to support SA’s regions  

SA has launched a new tourism campaign has launched today designed to tantalise the senses of South Australians and get them back out into the regions following a long period of travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Premier Steven Marshall said the $1.5 million ‘Welcome Back’ campaign signals the start of a major recovery phase for regional communities, some of which have endured not just the impact of the COVID-19 restrictions, but also drought and fires. View the Welcome Back ad

INSIGHTS 

 

Finder: New Zealand tourists will bring extra $186m to Australia instead of US 

Analysis by comparison site Finder shows that Australia can expect a massive influx of New Zealand visitors over the next year, a move that could bring an extra $186 million dollars into the local tourism industry. Australia is already the most popular destination for New Zealand travellers. 

The second favourite is the United States, which had 205,589 Kiwi visitors in 2019, according to Stats.NZ. However, travel from New Zealand to the US looks like it’s off the list until 2021 at the earliest. That makes Australia the obvious alternative choice, especially given plans for a trans-Tasman travel bubble and the ongoing popularity of Australia as a destination. More than 50 per cent of New Zealand overseas travel is to Australia. 

McKinsey: Air Travel Pulse - A new approach to tracking travel demand 

According to McKinsey, in the United States, airline capacity drops are seven to 17 times larger than those during the global financial crisis of 2008. Managing the reopening and recovery of travel is also expected to be a significant challenge given the uncertainty that surrounds travel regulations and traveller sentiment. The traditional booking funnel, in which travellers move from interest to travel purchase, no longer follows its previous pattern and pace. As such, airlines will need to update their capacity choices and meet recovering travel demand—and with much shorter timelines than before. To help formulate a response to these challenges, IATA and McKinsey partnered to develop Air Travel Pulse, a dashboard that provides the travel industry with a current and comprehensive view of travel demand and indications of recovery. Air Travel Pulse brings together and summarizes the traditional leading travel-demand indicators (such as air-travel search and ticketing data, flight schedules, and cancellations) with other public data sources (such as travel restrictions, online search behaviour, and other traveller activity). The goal is to allow airlines and other travel-sector participants to better gauge the progression of the booking funnel, deploy capacity, allocate marketing resources, and adjust pricing in the months ahead. 

IATA Reports First Signs of an Airline Business Uptick 

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed that demand for air services is beginning to recover after hitting bottom in April. Passenger demand in April (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) plunged 94.3 percent compared with April 2019, as the COVID-19-related travel restrictions virtually shut down domestic and international air travel. This is a rate of decline never seen in IATA’s history that dates back to 1990. 

More recently, figures show that daily flight totals rose 30 percent between the low point on April 21 and May 28. This is primarily in domestic operations, and off of a very low base (5.7 percent of 2019 demand). While this uptick is not significant to the global air transport industry, it does suggest that the industry has seen the bottom of the crisis, provided there is no resurgence of the COVID-19 disease. In addition, it appears to be the very first signal of the aviation industry turning the corning and re-establishing itself.  

Forward Keys: Uptick in China’s domestic travel recovery

Travel analytics company, ForwardKeys, has revealed that domestic air travel in China, has now reached more than 50 percent of what it was at the equivalent moment in 2019, based on issued air tickets. In addition, analysis of flight ticketing data reveals a significant uptick in last minute domestic flight bookings in China between May 11 and May 21. ForwardKeys says it is likely that a stronger recovery is under way in the hospitality sector, with many people choosing to drive or take a high-speed train rather than fly. According to the Travel Willingness Survey conducted by China Tourism Academy and China’s online travel agency Ctrip, in March, 41 percent of travellers said that they would travel by car once the coronavirus outbreak had been contained, 29 percent would travel by train, 16 percent would take a coach trip and only 14 percent would fly. Furthermore, China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism has reported that 60 percent of vacationers travelled by car during the Labor Day holiday period. This hypothesis is further supported by reports that hotel occupancy now exceeds 60 percent. ForwardKeys said the revival of Chinese travel needs to be kept in perspective because at the moment the business is mostly local. Typically, the shorter the distance people travel, the less they tend to spend. As of now, group travel between provinces is still prohibited but comments on various Chinese social media platforms predicts that the ban will be lifted this month, although there is no official news yet. For more information on the survey, visit www.forwardkeys.com

SiteMinder: World Hotel Index - Australian hotel bookings on the rise  

The volume of hotel bookings in Australia has risen throughout May2020 to be at nearly one third of the level recorded in 2019 as at Saturday 23rd May, far outpacing the growth and quantum of global hotel bookings. Global hotel bookings increased from 11.96% of 2019 levels at the start of the month to 21.9% by Saturday 23rd May, whereas Australian bookings increased to 29.65%, up from 14.67%. New Zealand and Australia are leading the global recovery in hotel bookings and the gap is expected to widen as each state starts to relax social distancing measures over the coming month. *Sourced from SiteMinder’s guest acquisition platform. Used by 35,000 hotels and connected to more than 400 hotel booking channels globally, the SiteMinder World Hotel Index compares year-on-year 2020 daily booking volumes as a % of 2019 bookings.  

INFORMATION 

AVIATION 

 

Aviation: QANTAS and JETSTAR increase domestic flights as restrictions ease 

The additional services will see capacity increase from 5 per cent of pre-Coronavirus levels, to 15 per cent by the end of June. This equates to more than 300 more return flights per week. Additional flights will likely operate during July depending on travel demand and further relaxation of state borders, with the ability to increase to up to 40 per cent of pre-crisis domestic capacity by the end of July.  

Details of the additional flights include: 

  • More services on capital city routes particularly Melbourne-Sydney and a number of routes to-and-from Canberra.  
  • Increased intra-state flights in Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia. Broome, Cairns and Rockhampton to see a significant boost in weekly flights.   
  • Flights will resume on eight routes not currently being operated.  
  • Qantas to commence flights from Sydney to Byron Bay (Ballina), after the route launch was postponed due to the Coronavirus.  

A state by state breakdown of the Group’s domestic and regional schedule can be viewed here.  

Aviation: QANTAS launches new ‘Fly Well’ program  

As part of the Group’s ‘Fly Well’ program, Qantas and Jetstar will have a range of measures in place from 12 June 2020 to ensure a safe environment at airports and onboard aircraft and to give customers extra peace of mind. This includes contactless check-in, enhanced cleaning, and masks and sanitising wipes provided to all customers. 

To provide customers with greater flexibility and confidence when they book, all Qantas and Jetstar domestic customers can change the date of their flight once, without paying a change fee.  

See more details in today’s media release. 

STATE RESTRICTIONS 

Tasmania eases restrictions early - moves to stage two of its recovery roadmap 

Tasmania is relaxing coronavirus restrictions early, allowing more movement around the state ahead of the coming long weekend. From Friday at 3:00pm, Tasmania will move to "stage two" of its recovery roadmap. The restrictions lifting mean camping and overnight stays will be permitted. Pubs and clubs, excluding nightclubs, will also be allowed up to 40 patrons. The state was due to move to "stage two" of its recovery "roadmap" on June 15, but many restrictions will now be lifted from 3:00pm this Friday. 

WA: Kimberley to reopen to rest of Western Australia  

Premier Mark McGowan says the Federal Government has agreed to the State Government's request to remove the Commonwealth Biosecurity restrictions, meaning the Kimberley, Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku and parts of the East Pilbara will soon reopen to all Western Australians. From Friday, June 5 (11.59pm Thursday, June 4) the biosecurity areas declared under the Commonwealth Biosecurity Act 2015 will be removed, however access to remote communities will remain restricted under the State Government's Emergency Management Act. 

NSW: Gyms, indoor fitness centres to open from 13 June 

NSW coronavirus restrictions on a raft of fitness facilities including gyms, yoga studios and indoor pools will be lifted next week, as new infections in the state flatline. 

AUSTRALIAN NEWS 

 

New Agreement keeps Western Sydney Airport on Track 

Construction will start this year on the around $11 billion Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport rail, locking in thousands of jobs and providing a long-term economic boost to the Western Sydney and New South Wales economies during the COVID-19 recovery. 

Under a new agreement between the Morrison and Berejiklian governments, a further $3.5 billion will be injected into the project, which will service the greater Western Sydney region, in time for the opening of Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport in 2026. 

QLD: New flights to pump millions into Whitsundays Economy  

New flights direct from Brisbane to the Whitsundays are now on sale. The deal  with the Queensland Government will see Alliance Airlines fly four times per week from Brisbane to the Whitsundays, with an option to ramp up to daily flights if demand permits.  

GLOBAL NEWS 

New Zealand launches new tourism message 

100% Pure New Zealand, the country’s tourism promotional group, is reconnecting with friends and past visitors around the world to share a reflection on what is important in life, as early signs of recovery begin to emerge for the island nation. Despite borders remaining closed to international visitors for now, the team behind New Zealand’s tourism efforts felt it was an appropriate time to share a message of reflection, hope and aroha (love) as they begin to recover and look forward to welcoming visitors again in the future when it’s safe to do so. 

The video released today reinforces deeply important values embedded in the New Zealand way of life from its unique Maori culture.  

Ahead of international borders opening, Tourism New Zealand has been focused on encouraging New Zealanders to explore their own backyard with a new campaign launched last week. But with this new video, the country seems ready to start the process of bringing back international tourists, again when the time is right. For more information, visit www.tourismnewzealand.com

Greece welcoming tourists for the summer 

Greece is taking steps to welcome more visitors in time for the summer vacation season. Starting June 15, international flights also can land in Thessaloniki, the country's second-largest city. Those from the 29 designated countries, the majority of them in Europe, will be subject to random tests. Passengers from all other countries will have to continue getting tested, staying overnight at specific hotels, and quarantining for either seven or 14 days. Starting July 1, all Greek airports that can handle international traffic will reopen to flights from abroad. At that time, random screening for the virus will apply to all arriving passengers unless public health considerations dictate stricter testing, a tourism ministry official said. Additionally, international arrivals by sea will also be allowed as of July 1, also subject to random testing. Foreigners traveling by land also will be permitted to enter Greece from neighboring Albania, Bulgaria and North Macedonia — but not Turkey — and be subject to random testing. 

Sri Lanka re-opening to premium small groups 

Sri Lanka plans to reopen its tourism sector on Aug. 1 by allowing only small groups of visitors to begin with, a tourism official said on Sunday. Kimali Fernando, chairperson of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, a government body, denied a report in the local Sunday Times that said the sector would re-open in mid-June. A limited number of small groups from around the world would be allowed to visit from August and stay in approved five-star hotels that have put strict safety measures in place, Fernando told Reuters. He confirmed that tourists will be required to carry a COVID-19-free certificate issued either by their governments or a reputed agency, as reported by the Sunday Times which quoted Sri Lanka’s Tourism Ministry Secretary S. Hettiaarachchi. Tourists would also need to wait on arrival at the airport for coronavirus testing. Fernando also confirmed that individual travelers will still not be allowed to enter the country. 

 

3 June

Webinar

This week’s webinar will be on Friday, 5th June at 11am.

Guests

We’ll be joined by:

  • Alan Joyce, the CEO and Managing Director of Qantas - who will be sharing insights on the future for aviation, tourism and of course Qantas’ recovery strategy.
  • Andy Lark, founder of Group Lark, a global strategy, digital and brand consultancy - who will be sharing insights for tourism businesses on how to approach the recovery from a marketing and operational perspective.

Registration

Register here.

See you on Friday!

 

29 May

INDUSTRY  

SA: Helping venues make the most of eased restrictions 

Wineries, pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants will be able to seek to temporarily change or expand their licenced footprint, as part of measures aimed at helping the hospitality sector adjust to imminent changes to restrictions on non-essential businesses. 

From Monday, licensed premises will be able to have up to 20 customers per indoor or outdoor area with up to a maximum of 80 customers on the premises – provided customers can distance themselves appropriately and meet the requirement limiting capacity to one person per four square metres. 

TAS: Government backing small business through COVID-19 support grants programs   

Minister for Tourism, Hospitality and Events, Sarah Courtney, says the Tasmanian Government remains committed to assisting Tasmanian businesses affected by COVID-19 and has taken considerable, significant measures to do this. "As part of the Tasmanian Government's nearly $1 billion Social and Economic Support Package, our more than $60 million Small Business Emergency Support, Hardship and Continuity grant programs have now all been allocated to support a total of over 18,200 Tasmanian small businesses." 

Businesses who need additional information on other support available should contact Business Tasmania at www.business.tas.gov.au or phone the Hotline on 1800 440 026 

NT: $2M Creative Industries Sector Immediate Response and Resilience Program: Digital Adaptation Program Grants 

Twenty-four recipients will share $200 000 in funding through Arts NT’s Digital Adaptation Program, as part of the Government’s $2 million Creative Industries Sector Immediate Response and Resilience Program. 

Developed in response to the impacts of COVID-19, the Creative Industries Sector Immediate Response and Resilience Program will provide practical support to the arts, creative and screen industry sector. 

The funding package will enable NT artists, arts workers, art groups and not for profit organisations to establish an online presence and create digital content, ensuring business continuity and remote operations can continue within the sector. 

INSIGHTS 

Hotel Bookings double 

A new global index created by hotel tech company SiteMinder shows booking activity has doubled in May as travel restrictions eased and Australians prepared to venture out. As of May 23, hotel bookings had increased to almost a third of the level they were at a year ago, outperforming a smaller rise globally. Canberra, which has just three active COVID-19 cases, showed the biggest spike in bookings in May (to 33 per cent) followed by Perth, according to the SiteMinder Word Hotel Index. 

Domestic bookings surge on AIRBNB 

With same-state travel resuming across the country, Airbnb’s research shows strong early signs of economic recovery, with intrastate bookings in some regions exceeding those in the same period in 2019. In just a seven-day period (17 to 23 May), intrastate bookings in NSW jumped 488 per cent month-on-month, following the announcement of easing travel restrictions. Australia-wide bookings in NSW are already nearing pre-COVID-19 levels, recovering to almost 90 per cent of bookings in the same week last year. Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory are also seeing significant increases in same-state travel, with bookings up 66 per cent, 77 per cent and 93 per cent respectively, compared with the same week last year. Victorians have also been busy booking trips for the back-half of the year, with bookings within the state expected to experience a surge similar to that in other states, given the month-on-month increase of 135 per cent during this period. Search data suggests that Queensland and Tasmania are also set to record a strong resurgence in bookings once restrictions ease in line with local conditions. Importantly, regional areas are set to welcome significant numbers of intrastate visitors, with 75 per cent of bookings for places outside of capital cities helping valuable tourism dollars to flow to local businesses across hard-hit communities. 

 

INFORMATION 

WA: Phase 3 of COVID Roadmap to commence 6 June – travel throughout WA 

The WA Government has announced Phase 3 of its roadmap to ease COVID-19 restrictions, with significant changes coming into effect from Saturday, June 6. As part of Phase 3, Western Australia will be the first State in the nation to implement a two square metre per person capacity rule for venues, replacing the previous four square metre rule, which is the current national advice. Travel will now be permitted throughout Western Australia, including into the Kimberley region, pending the Commonwealth's approval to remove the Biosecurity Area on June 5. Access into remote Aboriginal communities will remain prohibited. Phase 4 will be finalised in the coming weeks, based on the advice from the Chief Health Officer and will take into account the impact of Phase 3 in the WA community. Western Australia's hard border with the rest of Australia will remain in place. For more information visit here

NSW: Holiday in regional NSW from 1 June 

From 1 June, NSW citizens will be able take recreational trips across NSW, as long as they maintain social distancing and good hygiene. For more NSW recreational transport and travel advice visit here

NSW: Ski slopes open from 22 June  

NSW ski slopes will be open from 22 June. Deputy Premier and Member for Monaro John Barilaro said work is underway to ensure appropriate COVIDsafe measures are in place at Thredbo, Charlotte Pass and Perisher.  

QLD: 3 weeks until QLD stage 2 restrictions ease 

 Queensland Premier said yesterday said there would be more talks this week with the hospitality industry about venues catering for more than 20 patrons – with an approved COVID Safe plan. View current border restrictions here

TAS: Iconic Tasmanian heritage sites ready for re-opening on 3 July  

Elise Archer, Minister for Heritage, says the Tasmanian has announced  that after 105 days of closure, the Port Arthur Historic Site and Cascades Female Factory Historic Site will reopen from Friday, 3 July 2020. The site will offer free entry for all children and a ‘Ticket of Leave’ for every ticketed person which will allow free re-entry to all PAHSMA sites for two years. 

VIC: Tastings back on the menu at cellar doors from June 1 

 Victoria’s cellar doors will be open for tastings over the Queen's Birthday weekend. New guidelines were released to permit cellar doors to reopen, as is already the case for those in NSW and South Australia. From 1 June, cellar doors will be able to offer free tastings to seated customers. Wineries with a restaurant or café will be able to sell alcohol by the bottle or glass and, also be able to sell wine tasting experiences if they are served with a seated meal. 

 

27 May

INDUSTRY

ACT: Rise Canberra – Supporting Events

The ACT Government is providing further investment to support the arts and events sector through the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Minister for the Arts, Creative Industries and Cultural Events Gordon Ramsay said that the creation of RISE Canberra, an online events calendar would serve as the one stop shop for all Canberra events during this uncertain time. "The RISE Canberra Calendar will highlight events in our city that are going ahead, using non-traditional methods to avoid mass gatherings while fostering the jobs and economic stimulus our arts and events sector so desperately needs," Minister Ramsay said.

TAS: Supporting jobs in Tasmania’s cultural and creative industries

As part of Tasmania’s Cultural and Creative Industries Stimulus Package, the State Government is delivering new funding of $1.5 million and bringing forward $2 million of previously announced funding to assist the individuals and organisations within Tasmania’s renowned cultural sector. As part of the first stage of the stimulus package, 61 individuals and organisations will share in more than $900,000 of funding through its Arts and Screen Digital Production FundTasmanian Contemporary Music Fund and its second accelerated Screen Development Round. These projects will provide employment for around 330 Tasmanian artists and screen.

INSIGHTS

 

Impact of COVID-19 on Youth Travellers

Hostelworld has conducted research with a database of over 2,600 customers across 110 countries to assess the impact of COVID-19 on their travel plans. Positively, over half of respondents are actively planning their next trip, with 48 per cent keen to travel within a month of travel restrictions being lifted. Seven in 10 customers plan to travel internationally on their next trip, with the majority planning on travelling to another continent. COVID-19 has not deterred customers from seeking travel experiences such as backpacking and sightseeing, with these remaining as the most popular experiences sought. However, these has been a marked increase in interest in exploring the great outdoors.

WYSE Travel Confederation’s Travel Business Impact Survey

The WYSE Travel Confederation has published the third iteration of its COVID-19 Travel Business Impact Survey, highlighting the business outlook of travel and tourism companies. Different areas of youth and student travel show variation in expectations for 2020, with gap year companies being the least affected companies to date, with expectations of a sharper decline over the remainder of 2020. At a country level, Portugal is the most optimistic European country in terms of anticipated business prospects for 2020. North America and Australia are expecting slightly better results for the remainder of 2020 than their European counterparts.

INFORMATION

 

SA: Promoting South Australia to South Australians

More positive news for South Australia this week, with step two easing of restrictions again being brought forward, now commencing Monday 1 June. Step two introduces a ‘principles-based approach’ for businesses to apply to re-opening so that larger venues can accommodate more patrons (up to 80), provided they can maintain social distancing requirements of one person per four square metres and in discrete rooms of 20 people. Step two will also see that alcohol can be served without food, allowing Adelaide’s many wine bars, the state’s regional pubs, and cellar doors, to re-open to the community and help entice even more South Australians to travel and book out tourism businesses, particularly over the June long weekend. To promote intrastate travel, the SATC is forging new partnerships, including with Tripadvisor to launch FlexiTourism which gives consumers flexible holiday booking and payment options, as well as with one of Australia’s most trusted travel professionals, Phil Hoffmann Travel Group (PHT), to promote and actively sell SA to South Australians with itineraries created uniquely for the local market – watch PHT’s new TVC here.

NT: More Territory Parks to open from 5 June

From 5 June, all NT parks and reserves, other than those closed for seasonal reasons, will be open and accessible to all Territorians from noon that day.

In Central Australia, key sites such as Ormiston Gorge, Ellery Creek Big Hole, Glen Helen, Trephina Gorge and Watarrka National Park will be open and accessible for camping and swimming from noon on 5 June.

NT borders remain closed to visitors.

ACT: Canberrans will be able to visit NSW from June 1

The ACT will take another step in its recovery plan with the gradual easing of restrictions across a number of sectors coming into effect for the June long-weekend.

From midnight on Friday 29 May, ACT cafes, bars, restaurants and clubs will be able to cater for up to 20 people in each enclosed space.

Galleries, museums, national institutions and outdoor attractions (such as the Zoo) will also be able to reopen for groups of up to 20 people in a designated session. 

ACT residents will also be permitted to undertake non-essential travel to NSW.

WA: Regional travel restrictions to be lifted

From Friday, 29 May 2020, Western Australia’s regional boundaries will be lifted, except for the Australian Government biosecurity zones, including the Kimberley region, parts of the Shire of East Pilbara and Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku. Restrictions on entering remote Aboriginal communities will remain in place. For more details see regional travel information.

 

25 May

INDUSTRY

 

WA: Support for artists through $1.5 million COVID-19 support program

The WA Government has approved a $1.5 million support package, developed by the Art Gallery of Western Australia’s Board and the Art Gallery’s Foundation, to help Western Australian artists during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the initiative, all living Western Australian artists represented in the State Art Collection will receive $2,000 towards creating an online State Art Collection archive. In addition, independent and art centre-based Aboriginal artists will share up to $525,000 through a targeted acquisition program to purchase existing works from up to 15 independent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and from 25 Aboriginal art centres. In total, more than 400 Western Australian artists will directly benefit from the initiative, injecting up to $1.5 million into the arts sector economy. The Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA) is working with the Aboriginal Art Centre Hub Western Australia (AACHWA) to ensure both small and large art centres are represented in the program. 

 

NSW: $50 million package for NSW arts and culture

The NSW Government has announced a $50 million Rescue and Restart package for NSW arts and cultural organisations to ensure the sector continues to make an important contribution to the NSW economy during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

NT: Northern Territory launches ‘Time to be a Territorian’ campaign

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Culture, Lauren Moss, says a new intra-Territory campaign encouraging locals to get out and enjoy their backyard, and help to support local tourism operators kicks off tomorrow. The ‘Time to be a Territorian’ campaign encourages Territorians to explore as much of the Territory as they can, to support the State’s tourism industry. It will encourage locals to support their mates, their neighbours and their relatives who work in the tourism sector, which has been impacted as a result of COVID-19.

SA: Boost for nature-based tourism in South Australia

Nature-based tourism in South Australia will be turbocharged with the launch of a $5 million co-investment fund to fast track recovery after coronavirus restrictions and bushfires have devastated much of the state. The $5 million Nature-Based Tourism Co-Investment Fund is part of the Government's Parks 2025 Strategy and will provide grants to organisations to partner with the State Government to deliver sustainable, quality tourism experiences in South Australia. Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said the COVID-19-induced pause in interstate and international travel is an ideal opportunity for planning new nature-based tourism experiences in South Australia.

NT: Small Business Survival Fund starts rebound

Chief Minister, Michael Gunner, says the Territory Labor Government’s $50 million Small Business Survival Fund has assisted more than 1650 Territory Businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. Coronavirus is hitting Territorians hard and we are doing everything we can to support local business and save local jobs. With the Territory on the road to recovery and approaching Stage 3 of adjusting restrictions, the Small Business Survival Fund is transitioning to the rebound phase. The Fund has been open for new applications for eight weeks, and from today it will be closed to new applications. Support will now be available to help eligible businesses transition to the new normal and rebound strongly.

INSIGHTS

 

Aussies keen to get out of lockdown and back on the road

Our desire to travel abroad hasn't been curbed despite the COVID 19 global pandemic with two in five Australians eager to take a trip overseas in the next year according to a national survey commissioned by the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF). But domestic travel is first choice in the short term with almost two in five planning to travel within their own state in the next two months increasing to almost two thirds within the next six months. And regardless of some state borders still being closed nearly one in five expect to travel interstate in the next two months jumping to almost five in 10 within six months. The first in a series of surveys conducted by Newgate Research for TTF explores the travel intentions of Australians in the next 6 months as COVID 19 restrictions are gradually lifted.

INFORMATION

 

AUSTRALIA

 

South Australia accelerates easing of Stage 2 restrictions

Cinemas, theatres, galleries, museums, beauty salons, gyms and indoor fitness centres across South Australia will be able to open from next Monday, with the SA Government bringing forward the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions.

Those venues, along with pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes, will be able to admit up to 80 patrons, provided they can contain them to groups of 20 in discrete rooms or areas within the business.

Pubs will be able to serve alcohol without food but only to seated patrons.

Rules allowing one person per four square metres, and 1.5-metre social distancing, will remain in place.

Up to 50 mourners will be allowed at funerals.

Stage two restrictions were originally due to ease on June 8.

Western Australia to lift regional travel restrictions

Premier Mark McGowan says Western Australia's remaining regional travel boundaries will be reduced further, as part of the State Government's gradual and safe easing of COVID-19 restrictions. From midnight this Thursday, May 28, the regional boundaries will be lifted except for regions that are bound by the Commonwealth's designated biosecurity determination and 274 remote Aboriginal communities. The decision comes seven days after restrictions were eased as part of Phase 2 of the WA roadmap, which saw internal borders within Western Australia reduce from 13 to only four.

                                                                                                                         

Victoria allows overnight stays at tourism accommodation

Premier Dan Andrews announced on Sunday a raft of changes which will come into effect on June 1.

They include allowing gatherings of 20 people in a home, overnight stays at private residences and tourist accommodations and greater numbers at weddings, funerals and religious ceremonies.

Also opening from June 1 will be beauty salons, spas and tattoo parlours for up to 20 people, while restaurants, pubs and cafes can serve meals for up to 20 patrons.

Further changes, including the reopening of gyms and indoor cinemas, are currently slated for June 22.

Northern Territory brings forward travel to remote communities

On Sunday, Northern Territory Chief Minister Mr Gunner said the biosecurity zones — limiting travel to remote communities — will be removed almost two weeks ahead of schedule.

It comes after land councils called for the travel restrictions to be lifted at the same time as other coronavirus restrictions are eased on June 5.

Its interstate borders, however, will remain closed indefinitely.

New South Wales announces further easing

On Sunday, Health Minister, Brad Hazzard announced that beauty salons, tanning salons and nail bars will be able to reopen from June 1.

From that date pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants will also be able to serve up to 50 customers at a time, while museums, galleries and libraries will open and travelling to regional NSW for a holiday will be allowed again. Sydney’s Taronga Zoo will also reopen from the beginning of next month.

TAS: Premier calls for the Taste of Tasmania to continue

Tasmanian Premier, Peter Gutwein, says the Taste of Tasmania is an important and iconic event for the State, and the Government encourages the Hobart City Council to formally engage with stakeholders and the industry to help find a way to still hold the event. "I have today had constructive and positive discussions with Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds regarding the future of the Taste. I am firmly of the view that it is important for confidence that the Taste goes ahead in some form, noting it would need to be Covid-19 safe and guided by public health advice."

                                                                                                                         

Bushfire Royal Commission Hearings commence

The ‘Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, which is hearing how Australia can better prepare for, and respond to, natural disasters, began the first of its witness hearings today. The Commission is focusing on climate change and the financial impact of the fires.

The Royal Commission was established on 20 February 2020 in response to the extreme bushfire season of 2019-20 which resulted in loss of life, property and wildlife and environmental destruction.

You can watch the live webcast of proceedings here.

GLOBAL

 

CHINA: China’s cabinet seeks to gradually reopen theatres and resume large events

China is looking to take steps to reopen cinemas, museums, art galleries and stadiums after keeping them shut for months in an effort to control the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a document released Friday afternoon by the State Council, the country’s cabinet.

CHINA: Guangdong and Shanghai lower their emergency response levels

The southern province of Guangdong and the city of Shanghai each announced Friday that they will lower their public health emergency response from level two to level three on Saturday.

After the adjustment, Guangdong will begin taking steps to resume large events such as the Canton Import and Export Fair and will reopen public indoor spaces like museums and libraries, a provincial health official said Friday.

USA: Trump bans travellers from Brazil

The White House says it is prohibiting foreigners from travelling to the United States if they have been in Brazil in the past two weeks.

The move comes two days after Brazil became the world's number two hotspot for coronavirus cases, behind the US.

Brazil has reported more than 363,000 COVID-19 cases, second behind the US in the number of infections, according to the country's health ministry.

The US says restrictions for the rest of the Southern Hemisphere would be considered on a country-by-country basis

 

INDUSTRY

QLD: Govt releases COVID Safe checklists for industry including restaurants and cafes

The Queensland Government has released The Framework for COVID Safe Businesses, including COVID Safe Checklists - which are required for businesses that provide dining-in for customers, such as restaurants, cafes, pubs, RSLs, clubs, and hotels (food courts remain closed) and beauty therapy services:

QLD: Premier declares a ‘People’s Weekend’ to boost tourism

This Year’s Ekka Show Holiday will move to create a one-off long weekend giving locals the chance for a mini-break and our tourism industry a much-needed boost. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced that, for this year only, People’s Day will become the People’s Long Weekend moving from Wednesday August 12 to Friday August 14. The Premier said, with further easing of restrictions expected in August, the long weekend would provide extra stimulus for the tourism industry. "Everyone knows the Ekka is when the bush meets the city," the Premier said.

VIC: Free access to online short courses and training

Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade, Martin Pakula, says the Victorian Government is giving businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic free access to top online short courses and training events so they can plan for a stronger future and take advantage of new opportunities. The online programs, short courses, and events on the Upskill My Business platform cover topics ranging from business innovation and staff development to export preparation. Businesses can find out if there is a program to assist them and their workers at the Upskill My Business website, https://upskill.business.vic.gov.au, or by calling the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15.

NSW: Share your virtual experiences on visitnsw.com

Destination NSW is temporarily accepting virtual experiences on visitnsw.com and Sydney.com through the Get Connected program.

NSW tourism businesses are invited to share their virtual experiences via Get Connected so they may be featured across websites and social media, reminding wanderlust viewers of the destinations and experiences to love in NSW - virtually for now, and in person in future. 

Businesses looking to get involved in the online movement can:

  • Discover ideas for adapting your productinto a virtual experience.
  • Set up your virtual experience listing via Get Connected. If you are already a Get Connected member, you can log in and create the new listing from your account.
  • Take a look at Destination NSW’s Quick Tips guidesfor more ideas on staying connected with travellers, media and industry partners during these challenging times or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to discuss your tourism business.

ACT: Relief for CBD commercial property owners

Commercial property owners in Canberra’s city centre will benefit from a series of waivers and deferrals on their annual City Centre marketing and Improvement Levy for the upcoming financial year, allowing them to support their tenants throughout this period. In addition to the halving of the levy for the 2020-21 financial year, the Government will also defer the collection of the remaining 50 per cent by six months until February 2021 in order to give property owners and businesses a chance to start their rebound from the current financial conditions

TAS: Supporting wildlife parks and zoos throughout the coronavirus

Guy Barnett, Minister for Primary Industries and Water, says the Tasmanian Government is working closely with our stakeholders to support wildlife parks and zoos during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. A roundtable teleconference was held yesterday with representatives from wildlife parks, zoos, and aquariums throughout the state. This was an opportunity for the Government to hear from stakeholders about how they are managing the coronavirus response, discuss key issues and the next steps as restrictions begin to ease. The State Government’s Safe Workplaces Framework is assisting wildlife parks and zoos to develop their own coronavirus safety plans.

World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC) launches global ‘Travel Safe Protocols’

The WTTC alongside its members, governments, health experts and other industry associations is developing a set of worldwide protocols focusing on various industries within the Travel & Tourism ecosystem to rebuild confidence among consumers that they can travel safely once restrictions are lifted. The first two protocols publsihed focus on Hospitality and Outdoor Retail and aim at providing consistency to destinations and countries, as well as guidance to travel providers, operators, and travellers about the new approach to health and hygiene in a post COVID-19 world. Further protocols are in development including:  Aviation, Airports, Tour Operators, Convention Centres and MICE, Car Rental and Insurance, among others. Find out more here.

European COVID-19 Aviation Health Safety Protocol released

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) issued a joint document defining measures to assure the health safety of air travellers and aviation personnel once airlines resume regular flight schedules following the severe disruption caused by COVID-19.

The guidelines place paramount importance on health safety at every stage of the end-to-end passenger journey. Recognising that airports, airlines and aircraft are different, it takes a pragmatic approach in implementation – highlighting and giving guidance on the ways in which individual locations and situations can best be re-engineered to meet the new health safety standards. View the guidelines here.

INSIGHTS

Centre for Aviation (CAPA) analyses domestic aviation markets: The good, the bad and the ugly

CAPA has conducted analysis into the global aviation landscape, predicting that the first green shoots will come in countries with large domestic aviation markets. Aviation recovery will be closely linked to the success of various countries in bringing COVID-19 under control. The organisation has ranked countries along a spectrum of risk with the good markets falling into the lower risk category where coronavirus cases are trending downwards or already very low. According to CAPA, these countries include Australia, China, New Zealand, Norway, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The Destinations Topping Australian Travellers’ Wish Lists

Booking.com has shared the top destinations Australians are dreaming about based on thousands of local travel wish lists created by hopeful travellers on its platform over the last two months. The top destinations for Australians are still the traditional favourites of Indonesia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Domestic stays featured heavily, with at least 49 per cent of all Australian wish lists featuring domestic experiences, representing a jump from 28 per cent at the same time last year. The most wish-listed domestic destinations among Australians are the Gold Coast, Cairns, Byron Bay, Port Douglas, and Noosa Heads.

INFORMATION

AUSTRALIA

NSW: Hospitality venues getting back to the ‘new normal’ sooner than expected

The Premier of NSW has today announced an early easing of coronavirus restrictions on the State’s cafes, restaurants, pubs, and clubs. From June 1, NSW hospitality venues will be allowed to seat 50 customers subject to strict guidelines for operators. All venues will also be required to develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan. 

SA: Restaurants and cafes can now seat 20 patrons

Starting today South Australian restaurants and cafes are permitted to seat 20 customers (10 indoors and 10 outdoors).  From June 5 pubs will be allowed to re-open to allow them to capitalize on the long weekend. This early easing of restrictions is in response to progress made by the State in eliminating confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

Australia seeks exemption from UK quarantine

Australians flying into the United Kingdom could be excused from spending 14 days in quarantine. Trade Minister Simon Birmingham reportedly discussed the exemption with his British counterpart this week. Australia argues its success in bringing the disease under control at home makes it a low-risk country abroad.

Virgin Australia adds to domestic schedule

Virgin Australia will add new flights and increase frequencies under a revised agreement with the Federal Government to connect essential travellers and critical freight with towns and cities across Australia.

The changes, which take its underwritten schedule from 64 to 76 return services per week, will bring Adelaide and Perth closer together with a new three-times weekly return service. Guests travelling between Brisbane and Melbourne, Brisbane-Mackay and Brisbane-Cairns will also be given more flexibility to travel with increased frequencies.

Virgin Australia is also collaborating with airlines and airports on a consistent national policy framework as part of the Australian Aviation Recovery Coalition response to COVID-19. Some outcomes of those discussions are expected in the coming weeks.

The revised schedule commences today and will remain in place until 11 June 2020.

Federal Government rejects Queensland’s request to prop up Virgin

According to media reports, the Australian Government has rejected requests from Queensland to supply Virgin Australia with short-term funding, after concerns arose over the airline's liquidity. Virgin's administrators say that the carrier does not have enough funds to remain operable beyond June.

Canberra Airport calls on Queensland Government to open border to ACT travellers

According to media reports, Canberra Airport has called on Queensland to allow flights between the ACT and Brisbane without forcing people into quarantine, arguing the territory "is not a COVID-19 hot spot" and air travel would help boost tourism and jobs. Canberra Airport chief Stephen Byron has written to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to suggest restarting domestic flights between the cities.

The call to open Queensland’s borders comes in the wake of increasing pressure from Governments and the tourism industry to allow interstate travel in time for the July school holidays.

Australia extends prohibition on cruise ships

The current restriction on cruise ships entering Australian waters has been extended for a further three months until 17 September 2020. Any cruise ship capable of carrying more than 100 passengers is prohibited from operating cruises in Australia.

GLOBAL                                            

European countries begin to reopen their borders

Italy will allow travel to and from abroad starting on June 3. The measures are currently limited to residents in Europe's visa-free Schengen area. Travellers to Italy will not be required to quarantine on arrival.

Germany plans to gradually reopen its internal borders over the next month. Borders between  Luxembourg and Switzerland are already open, and those with Austria, Switzerland and France are set to go back to normal from 15 June.=

Tourists will be allowed to enter Greece without taking a coronavirus test or remaining in quarantine when international flights restart on July 1. On June 15 seasonal hotels and resorts will open. On the same day, the first stage of lifting restrictions on international flights will take place, with aircraft landing initially only at Athens Airport. The second stage of lifting restrictions on international flights at all Greek airports will take place on July 1.

 

21 May

Please see below for today’s update, including the domestic launch of our Aussie Specialist Program – So this is opening up the existing program to Australian-based travel agents.

For those of you not familiar with the program and how operators can get involved, here’s a summary for you:

The Aussie Specialist Program:

Tourism Australia continues to engage with its 35,000 strong network of Aussie Specialist Agents through the Aussie Specialist Program – www.tourism.australia.com/aussiespecialist.  From May 2020 this program has been extended to also include domestic front-line travel sellers. Commissionable products are able to engage with agents through:

The Travel Club

  • The Travel Club is a discounted travel program that is available to fully qualified Aussie Specialist agents to use during their personal holiday around Australia
  • You can submit an industry rate offer/value-add and upload an image at www.tourism.australia.com/travelclub
  • Note that if you previously had offers available to ‘All markets’ or ‘Rest of World’, Domestic agents will now have access to these once they have qualified in the program.

Product Training Videos (replacing what used to be ‘Product Update Videos’).

Tourism Australia has seen an increase in interest from front-line travel sellers for short and sharp on-demand training videos. This is your opportunity to submit a training video of up to 5 minutes for upload to the Aussie Specialist website. Think of it as the equivalent of sitting face-to-face with an agent at a trade event, or even as if an agent was on a virtual tour of your product.

Preparing your training update:

  • ·Your training video should be no longer than 5 minutes - Think short, sharp and interesting – You don’t need to use the entire time allowed.
  • · The delivery of information within your video can take many forms:
    • 'Virtual Tours' of your product with narration or a live guide.
    • A recorded webinar containing a presentation/images
    • A combination of the above - The simplest to produce being a 'screen-recording' of a webinar with both yourself (don't be shy!) and presentation content visible.
    • 'Consumer' style advertising videos are generally not suitable however you can narrate over existing footage as part of your training content.
  • · Don't assume that viewers know where you are geographically - A quick map is always useful.
  • · Presentations should to be engaging and make product stand out – Use visuals where possible.
  • · Explain the benefit your product gives to people - Why they love your experience - What makes your product unique from others?
  • · What are the key parts that you think are the 'musts' in terms of things to know? Remember that people can always look up specific details afterwards - Use your time to get people interested and draw them in.
  • · Use language that everyone understands, remembering that non-native speakers may be viewing this content.
  • · “Test” your video on friends and family – Does it keep them engaged? What are their key takeaways? – A fresh perspective is always useful!
  • · Be passionate and have fun with it! This is your business, be proud to promote it!

Send your video file (uploaded via a service such as WeTransfer, Dropbox, Hightail or Google Drive) plus a 50 word blurb as well as website URL through to your relevant Tourism Australia Industry Relations Manager.

 

Dominic Mehling

ACT, NSW, NT & QLD

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Sophie Treasure

SA, TAS, VIC & WA

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

 

 

 

Dear Industry Colleagues,

It has only been two days since the last update, and as you will see below - in that time a lot of industry support measures have been announced, more insights around when and how the sector may recover have been released, and of course there have been more updates in Australia and globally around border restrictions and the Coronavirus.

For more updates and insights, you can also join our webinar this Friday to hear from:

  • Industry - Simon McGrath, Chief Operating Officer, Accor Hotels Pacific

Simon will share his perspective on restarting and recovery in a post-coronavirus world, as well as his thoughts on potential opportunities and innovation in our industry.

  • Aviation - Peter Harbison, Chairman Emeritus at CAPA – Centre for Aviation

Peter will update us on the global aviation situation, how it relates to the Australian tourism industry, and provide some future insights.

  • PR - Emma Sturgiss, Global Manager, Public Relations, Tourism Australia

Emma will share media insights from our international offices, update on Tourism Australia’s PR activities, and provide some tips for maximising your own PR and media coverage.

To register, please ensure you use this link.

INDUSTRY

Tourism Australia’s Aussie Specialist Program launches in Australia

Tourism Australia has launched a local version of its award-winning international Aussie Specialist Program, providing a free online training resource for frontline travel sellers in Australia.

The Aussie Specialist online program has been designed to equip agents with relevant, up-to-date information and showcase new regions, destinations, and experiences within Australia. The program offers interactive training modules, itinerary suggestions, fact sheets, the latest industry news and monthly email updates covering what’s new in Australian tourism.

A key objective in launching the program is to help agents sell Australian tourism experiences during these challenging times and introduce domestic travellers to destinations and experiences they might be less familiar with.

Export Finance Australia supporting Australian exporters through COVID-19

As the Government’s export credit agency, Export Finance Australia provides a range of loans and guarantees for exporters, including international tourism businesses providing service directly, or through a supply chain.

If you have had unexpected challenges such as shipment problems, payment difficulties or business interruptions and are unable to secure finance with your bank due to COVID-19, Export Finance Australia may be able to assist.

Speak to Export Finance Australia’s team on 1800 093 724 or visit exportfinance.gov.au/COVID19.

$50million dollar boost to support Queensland tourism businesses

The Queensland Government yesterday announced an extra $50 million to help support Queensland tourism businesses and its iconic theme and animal parks to get through COVID-19.

Premier Palaszczuk told Parliament that her government would also deliver a domestic marketing campaign to align with the easing of restrictions to encourage Queenslanders to holiday at home.

The funding boost to the sector was announced as part of the Queensland Economic Recovery Strategy: Unite and recover for Queensland Jobs, to help the State recover from COVID-19 with a focus on backing Queensland jobs.

$100million in small business grants

Queensland small businesses can now also apply for a grant of up to $10,000 under a new $100 million package to help them counter the impact of COVID-19.

The new grants program has been developed to assist those small businesses forced into hibernation, to restructure or to significantly change their business operations or move online.

Destination NSW launches new tourism recovery campaign

The campaign is a continuation of the Now’s The Time To Love NSW campaign which launched in early February in response to the bushfire crisis and highlights the landscapes and activities available to travellers ahead of COVID-19 restrictions easing.

 

TAS announces rental distress fund

The establishment of the COVID-19 Rent Relief Fund will ensure targeted support of up to $2000 or four weeks rent is available for tenants suffering from extreme hardship.

While the Government has already taken action to protect residential tenants, including a halt on rental evictions, restrictions on inspections to support social distancing, and a ban on rental increases during the emergency period, this new fund will support those who continue to experience pressure.

Austrade issues further guidance around support for Zoos and Aquariums

Additional guidance for businesses seeking to be included in the Australian Governments’ $94.6million coronavirus funding program for exhibiting zoos and aquariums, has now been published, including Grant Guidelines and FAQs. Businesses who would like to be considered for the program, should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Applications are open until 5 June 2020.

SATC introduces FlexiTourism – the new normal for consumers

The South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) has launched FlexiTourism, a new initiative in partnership with global travel guidance platform Tripadvisor, to give consumers flexible booking and payment options for their next holiday. FlexiTourism gives holiday-planners the ability to explore bookable tourism experiences within South Australia and feel in control of their finances with a “book now, pay on arrival” payment option, as well as the ability to change their dates without penalties or cancellation fees. View the range of FlexiTourism offerings here.

Red Cross extends bushfire support

The Australian Red Cross has extended the date for applications for Red Cross Bushfire Recovery Grants to 30 June 2020.  There are four categories of grants, ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 each.  The grants available are:

  • Emergency grantfor people who have lost their homes.
  • Injury grantfor people who were hospitalised due to the fires.
  • Primary residence repair grantfor home owners whose homes have been structurally damaged. Eligibility has been extended to include destruction or damage to critical private water, septic and/or power infrastructure.
  • Rebuild grantfor owner-occupiers to assist with early stages of rebuilding.

More information is available here

INSIGHTS

CAPA, predicts 60% recovery in Australia’s domestic capacity by Christmas

Based on a combination of analysis of government statements, airline projections and underlying demand, the Centre for Aviation’s (CAPA) ‘Airline Capacity Model’ projects a slow, phased recovery in domestic air capacity in Australia through the remainder of 2020CAPA projects domestic capacity to reach 49 per cent of 2019 levels by the October school holidays and 60 per cent by mid-December 2020.

International markets are, however, unlikely to recover and the CAPA Airline Capacity Model sees international air capacity (seat numbers) still down by 92 per cent year-on-year in July, by 86 per cent in October and by 85 per cent in December.

UNWTO: International Tourist Numbers Could Fall 60-80% in 2020

According to the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), international tourism is down by 22 per cent in quarter 1 of 2020 and could decline by as much as 60-80 per cent over the whole year. The organisation has outlined three possible future scenarios depending on how the crisis unfolds:

  • Scenario 1 (-58%): based on the gradual opening of international borders and easing of travel restrictions in early July.
  • Scenario 2 (-70%): based on the gradual opening of international borders and easing of travel restrictions in early September.
  • Scenario 3 (-78%): based on the gradual opening of international borders and easing of travel restrictions only in early December.

Impact of COVID-19 on the Australian Hotel Industry

The Australian Hotel Association has published the findings of its second Australian Hotel Sentiment Survey, reporting the ongoing status of the accommodation sector. Of the 35,834 rooms which were surveyed, the study estimates that approximately 14,580 (or 41 per cent) are currently operational. Eighty per cent of the survey’s participants describe their situation as cash flow negative, and 50 per cent report that their current staffing levels are only at 0-25 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels. June is expected to be the poorest performing month, with low occupancy levels and 30 per cent declines in average room rates compared to budgets.

Deloitte’s Travel and Hospitality Scenarios: long-term implications for travel

Deloitte has developed four scenarios based on current trends and critical uncertainties, illustrating potential long-term implications for the broader travel environment and the companies which operate within it. Various themes are likely to emerge from COVID-19 and persist, forcing travel companies to adapt to this ‘next normal.’

  • Planning for a reduction in business travel: businesses adapt to manage constrained budgets and pandemic uncertainty by incorporating increased virtual and remote solutions.
  • Overcoming consumer apprehension: there is an opportunity for companies to alleviate and address the consumer tension of wanting to travel and not knowing whether it is safe.
  • Innovating and collaborating with technology partners: accelerated adoption of technology and automation will improve and remove friction from the travel journey.
  • Adjusting to a disrupted ecosystem: significant disruptions to value chains could threaten business continuity and force businesses to identify alternative solutions.
  • Promoting new health/safety standards: companies will need to communicate and promote health and sanitisation practices to attract customers and frontline employees.
  • Reengaging and reassuring employees: widespread downsizing and furloughs will require companies to provide for an advanced experience to reattract and retain talent.

Smart Travel Lab and Kantar Anticipate the Future of Travel

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, Smart Travel Lab highlighted sustainability, over-tourism, seamless journeys, the future of workforce and security as the five main themes to impact the tourism industry in the next five years. The company has collaborated with Kantar to provide an updated list of scenarios and themes, anticipating that health and sustainability will top the industry’s agenda for the next 18 months. Among their predictions include:

  • The desire for natural and untouched over urban and artificial will surge.
  • The trend towards regional and domestic travel will accelerate.
  • Shorter trips will increase.
  • Values will flip from image and luxury to safety and responsiveness.
  • Large crowds and busy destinations are expected to be avoided; overtourism may become a thing of the past.

INFORMATION

AUSTRALIA

Holidays to be allowed in NSW from June 1 as coronavirus travel restrictions eased

The NSW Government has confirmed regional travel in the state will be allowed for any reason, including holidays, from June 1. Travellers from interstate will be able to visit NSW for a holiday from 1 June but will need to comply with the rules of their home state when returning. The Premier has encouraged venues are also encouraged to review their booking policies to allow travellers to easily cancel their trip if they have any coronavirus symptoms. Libraries, museums and art galleries will also be permitted to open their doors and restaurants and cafes will be permitted to have up to 20 people in their venues.

QLD flags domestic border closures until September.

The Queensland Premier says the state's borders may not open until September. But she is also open to a domestic travel bubble, allowing some states and territories like WA, NT and SA to travel there before others.  "There is still community transmission in Victoria and in New South Wales so as soon as my Chief Health Officer says I can relax those restrictions, we absolutely will," she said.

The decision would be reviewed on a monthly basis.

South Australia brings forward easing of restrictions on meals and alcohol

South Australia will lift coronavirus restrictions earlier than first hoped, following a clean sweep without COVID-19 cases.From this Friday, cafes and restaurants will be allowed indoor dining for groups of up to 10 in addition to existing outdoor dining limits. Alcohol service will be allowed for up to 10 people indoors and 10 people outdoors.

Qantas announces ‘Fly Well’ to prepare for easing of travel restrictions

Qantas and Jetstar will roll out a series of wellbeing improvements to give customers and staff peace-of-mind in preparation for domestic travel restrictions easing.

The Fly Well program brings together a number of temporary measures already in use by the Qantas Group; including hand sanitising stations at gates; wipes and facemasks onboard; sequenced boarding and disembarkation and enhanced cleaning. The program has been developed based on best practice medical advice and feedback from customers. Read the media release here on watch the Fly Well video.

According to media reports, Qantas boss Alan Joyce says he could have up to half his domestic network back in the air by July if domestic restrictions are eased.

GLOBAL

IATA map shows global border restrictions

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has produced an interactive global map showing international border restrictions by country.  View the map here.

Pacific countries express interest in travel bubble

Fiji has formally requested to join the ‘travel bubble’ with Australia and New Zealand. Australia and New Zealand have made it clear that re-establishing travel between themselves is their initial priority, and even that could be some months away.

WHO advice for the tourism sector

The World Health Organisation has been collaborating with the tourism and aviation sectors. Since the beginning of the outbreak, WHO has been collaborating closely with the travel and tourism sectors, including sharing information on a regular basis, participating in technical networks, and developing technical guidance and travel advice. WHO has also issued joint statements with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), amongst others, to reinforce the collaboration and encourage countries to follow the guidance. WHO is a member of the COVID-19 Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART), an initiative launched by ICAO to identify and recommend strategic priorities and policies to States and industry operators for a safe return to normal operations in the aviation sector.

WHO is also supporting UNWTO in their efforts to help the tourism industry to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, by regularly sharing information and guidance and by providing support to specific industry initiatives:

  • The UNWTO “Healing Solutions for Tourism” challenge, a global call for start-ups, entrepreneurs and innovators to provide ready-to-implement solutions to mitigate COVID-19’s impact on tourism. WHO is a member of the committee that reviewed the submissions for selection of finalists for awards. The challenge selected 12 semi-finalist solutions in the three areas of healing: for people, for prosperity, and for destination. Read more here.

 

20 May

Correction to weekly webinar link this Friday 22 May at 11am

Apologies, we sent the incorrect link out for the webinar last night. Please register for this Friday’s webinar using this link.

Slight change in speakers

Unfortunately Neville Power can’t join this week, but he will be joining us next week on 29 May. This week we have the following speakers:

This week’s webinar agenda

Industry - Simon McGrath, Chief Operating Officer, Accor Hotels Pacific

Simon will share an industry perspective on what restarting and recovery will look like in a post-coronavirus world, as well as his thoughts on potential opportunities and innovation for the industry moving forward.

Aviation - Peter Harbison, Chairman Emeritus at CAPA – Centre for Aviation

Peter will be giving an update on the global aviation situation, how that relates to the Australian tourism industry, and provide some insights on what things may look like moving forward.

PR  - Emma Sturgiss, Global Manager, Public Relations, Tourism Australia

Emma will be sharing some media insights from our international offices, giving a general update on TA’s PR activities, and providing some tips for you all on how to maximise your PR and coverage .

 

19 May 

Dear Industry Colleagues,

Live from Aus

It seems there is a lot of desire for Australian travel out there -particularly from domestic markets! We had a great weekend with the launch of Live from Aus on Friday night on Network 10 with The Love Australia Project, then a full weekend of live streaming events on our social media channels.

Almost 1.3 million people tuned into the Project special, over 50 million people in more than 40 countries saw elements of the Live from Aus campaign on our social platforms, the Live from Aus videos were viewed over 10.5 million times, and the campaign has generated already over 1000 articles globally online and in print, generating $6.2 million in equivalent advertising value.

Webinar – Friday 11am – Nev Power, Simon McGrath & TA’s PR team

This week I will be joined by Nev Power, Chairman of the COVID-19 Commission to give an update on all the work the Commission is doing to coordinate and manage the Government’s response to the coronavirus, and Simon McGrath, Chief Operating Officer at Accor Pacific who will give an industry perspective on what restarting and recovery will look like. We will also have Tourism Australia’s Global Manger for Public Relations, Emma Sturgiss, joining us to give an update on TA’s PR activity, and to provide some tips for you all on how to maximise your PR and coverage! Register here.

Kind regards,

Pip

INDUSTRY

Free Trade Agreements webinars – starting 26 May

Austrade is hosting a series of 12 webinars on free trade agreements. Minister Birmingham is kicking off the first one on 26 May at 11am. Register here.

Tourism Australia webinar series

Don’t forget all of TA’s webinar, and presentations s are recorded and available for viewing at any time on our corporate site.

INSIGHTS

TA Factsheets – the Value of Tourism, Domestic Travel Figures & CDP research

Attached are three new TA factsheets on Australian travel.

UQ research on domestic tourism post COVID-19 restrictions

Released on 24 April, a study undertaken by UQ Business School of more than 500 Australians showed that:

  • More than 50 per cent of Australians want to travel domestically when restrictions lift
  • The number one motivator cited for travelling is the need to support Australian tourism
  • Popular destinations include coastal, country and regional areas – with cities being the least appealing
  • 50 per cent said they will drive to their destination, rather than fly or take public transport
  • Future travellers will be more aware of hygiene standards

IATA FORECAST

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released new analysis showing that the damage to air travel from COVID-19 extends into the medium-term, with long-haul international travel being the most severely impacted. Quarantine measures on arrival would further damage confidence in air travel. IATA recommends a risk-based layered approach of globally harmonized biosecurity measures is critical for the restart. 

INFORMATION

AUSTRALIA

Restrictions easing in South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania

Australia ranks 12th for association meetings worldwide

The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) has released its global rankings of association meeting destinations for 2019 and Australia has come in at number 12 – up one place from last year. Sydney is Australia’s top city, ranking five spots higher than last year at 20. At 48, Melbourne is also inside the top 50 cities worldwide. The rankings are based on the number of international association meetings held in each destination, with Paris topping the city list globally while the USA remains the top ranked country.

Deloitte shortlists four potential parties to be new owners of Virgin Australia

The four bidders are private investment firm Bain Capital, private equity firm BGH Capital, US aviation investor Indigo Partners and global investor Cyrus Capital Partners.

GLOBAL

EU Tourism Reboot

The European Commission this week offered a package of guidelines and recommendations to help member states gradually lift travel restrictions and allow tourism businesses to reopen, after months of lockdown, while respecting necessary health precautions. 

India cases surpass China

India has now surged past 90,000 confirmed cases and is recording more than 4,000 new cases a day. It has also passed China's tally.

WTTC Unveils “Safe Travels” Global Protocols to Restart Travel & Tourism

World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has unveiled a range of new worldwide measures to restart the sector. These measures have been designed to rebuild confidence among consumers so they can travel safely once the restrictions are lifted.

MGM Resorts release health and safety plan for Vegas re-opening

MGM Resorts International, the largest owner of resorts in Las Vegas, just released a report outlining the comprehensive health and safety protocols it is implementing prior to re-opening its domestic properties and resorts which were temporarily closed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

 

18 May

Dear Industry Colleagues,

Tonight is the night!

Live from Aus kicks off very shortly with a special one-hour broadcast at 7:30pm on The Project on Network Ten. ‘The Love Australia Project’, proudly supported by Tourism Australia, will be headlined by some of the nation’s favourite tourism and entertainment personalities who will help shine a spotlight on Australia’s unparalleled offerings. This will be followed by a full weekend program on 16 and 17 May of live content on Tourism Australia’s social media channels.

How can you get involved?

  • Watch the special ‘Love Australia Project’ on Channel 10  tonight at 7:30pm
  • Join the Facebook event to stream all the content and send an invitation to your mates
  • Share the content with your friends and families using #SeeAustralia
  • Find out more information, including the full schedule at tourism.australia.com/livefromaus.

More information is available here.

Have a great weekend!

Regards

Pip

INDUSTRY

World Travel and Tourism Council unveils “Safe Travels” Global Protocols to restart travel and tourism

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the travel & tourism private sector, has unveiled a range of new worldwide measures to restart the sector. These measures have been designed to rebuild confidence among consumers so they can travel safely once the restrictions are lifted.

WTTC’s new “Safe Travels” protocols provide consistency to destinations and countries, as well as guidance to travel providers, operators and travellers, about the new approach to health and hygiene in the post COVID-19 world. Based on the best available medical evidence and following guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the protocols also avoid the emergence of multiple standards, which would only delay the sector’s recovery.

WTTC has divided the new guidance into five pillars, including restarting operations; ensuring the traveller experience is safe and secure; rebuilding trust and confidence; innovation; and implementing enabling policies. Measures being announced now include:

For full details about Safe Travels, visit www.wttc.org.

Tourism Australia webinar series

Don’t forget all of TA’s webinars are recorded and available for viewing at any time on our corporate site.

INSIGHTS

Caravanners and campers 7 times more likely to take an immediate holiday

The caravan and camping sector can lead the road to recovery for regional tourism with an average spend of $584 per trip according to Tourism Research Australia, and over 500,000 travellers indicating they’d take a camping trip within two months. This has the potential to kick-start the recovery for tourism and inject over $292 million dollars directly into the hands of regional tourism operators who rely on caravanners and campers travelling to experience a wide variety of attractions. The intention to go caravan and camping is significantly higher than general travel intention, with only 12% of the broader Australian population planning to book a holiday in the next three months, indicating that caravan and camping travellers are seven times more likely to take a holiday in the next three months than the rest of Australians. 

 

New Study: Implications of COVID-19 on Chinese travel patterns and recovery

McKinsey & Company have surveyed 1,600 Chinese travellers to highlight the impact of the coronavirus on their propensity to travel in the coming months. Overall sentiment among Chinese consumers has recovered rapidly in recent weeks, with 36 per cent of consumers optimistic about China’s economy. However, when it comes to travel, the rebound in confidence appears to be slower. Most travellers expect to make their next leisure trip between September and October, with over half (54 per cent) of respondents waiting on an announcement from schools or experts before they take their next leisure trip. Travellers who are expected to take a trip in the next three months are more likely to be young, single, middle-class and experienced travellers. Domestic travel is most favoured by respondents, with a focus on food and family destinations in addition to solo travel opportunities such as self-guided and self-drive trips.

 

INFORMATION

Australian domestic holidays may resume by July

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says domestic holidays are on the horizon as Australia continues along the road back from coronavirus restrictions.

"Australians can hopefully soon return to domestic holidays and to move around the country more widely, and particularly with school holidays coming up again in July," he said.

NZ ski fields to reopen but Australia snow season remains in doubt

As Australia's ski resorts await approval for their own snow season, New Zealand has lifted its ban on domestic travel under its Alert Level 2, meaning its ski fields can operate, having recently received official government approval.

The NZ industry and government have agreed to specific guidelines for ski resorts to allow them to operate safely. The guidelines require resorts to manage physical distancing, ensure contract tracing is in place and to increase cleaning and sanitation. The large areas over which ski areas operate mean that there is no cap on the total number of people allowed on the ski area, provided physical distancing can be managed. Ski resort restaurants and hospitality facilities will be subject to hospitality requirements.

The Victorian Government's position on snow sports, effective from May 12 until May 31 states "Snow sports can continue. Use of shared sporting equipment should be minimised and there should be no sharing of equipment that touches the face or head (like helmets, goggles or masks). Travel is allowed only for permitted activities and includes day trips but no overnight stays. As always, Victorians are being asked to use common sense when it comes to travelling."

Vail Resorts, which owns the lifts at Perisher in New South Wales and Falls Creek and Mount Hotham in Victoria, said it was "continuing to prepare for the 2020 winter season. We are closely monitoring the progress of Covid-19 in Australia and globally. As the season approaches, we will advise of any planned changes to resort operations."

Iconic SA tourism sites to re-open as restrictions ease

Cleland Wildlife Park and other iconic State Government tourism sites will start re-opening from today as COVID-19-related restrictions are eased. On Monday campsites in South Australia's national parks and reserves re-opened - coinciding with the removal of restrictions on regional travel in South Australia. Other iconic tourism sites, such as Cleland Wildlife Park, Mount Lofty Botanic Garden, Adelaide Gaol, Seal Bay and the Naracoorte and Tantanoola Caves will now be able to re-open as well. Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said the state's iconic tourism sites will have amended services to ensure restrictions on gatherings and social distancing can be maintained.

Queensland Government moves to buy stake in Virgin Australia

The state-owned Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) is set to make an official bid for a stake in Virgin Australia after the airline went into voluntary administration last month.

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick released a statement confirming the move to save the airline and retain its headquarters in Brisbane. Mr Dick said it could take the form of a direct equity stake, a loan, a guarantee or other financial incentives.

 

13 May

Industry, Insights & Information – refreshing the TA updates

Given there is still so much to include in our updates, we have refreshed the structure moving forward to help you navigate to the information most relevant to you.

  1. Industry – to outline any new industry support made available from Government and Industry Associations;
  2. Insights – to summarise the latest in research and reports which continue to be released;
  3. Information – to provide you with highlights from the latest Coronavirus news. 

This week’s Webinar- Friday 9am – Industry, Europe & Tourism Restart

This week’s line-up of speakers includes Bob East, Chair of Tourism Australia and Experience Co, Eva Seller, TA’s Regional General Manager, Continental Europe and John Hart, Executive Chairman of the Australian Chamber of Commerce – Tourism and TA Board Director.  Click here to register

INDUSTRY

WA $14.4 million package to support tourism industry and jobs

With some regional travel and other restrictions being cautiously eased from Monday May 18, the WA’s Tourism Recovery Program will enable tourism operators to prepare for a staged return to business in the new environment.

The $14.4 million initiative includes two funding programs - a $10.4 million Tourism Recovery Fund to provide one-off cash grants for up to 1,600 individual small businesses around the State. The $6,500 grants will provide immediate support to eligible tourism operators including micro tourism businesses, such as sole traders and businesses with four or less employees, with annual taxable wages of less than $1 million, including accommodation, attraction, tour and transport businesses.

The second, $4 million Tourism Business Survival Grants package will be available for tourism operators dealing with exceptionally difficult circumstances - with grants of $25,000-$100,000 available. The Survival Grants will target businesses located in parts of the State with more restrictive travel bans in place, or whose circumstances otherwise mean they will face a more difficult road to recovery. Businesses which deliver iconic experiences are also eligible to apply.

The new package is on top of the Government's $1.8 billion stimulus and relief package invested so far in response to COVID-19.

More information on the Tourism Recovery Fund and the online application form here.

More information on the Tourism Business Survival Grants package, including how businesses can apply, will be released shortly.

 

VIC New support package for tourism, sport and cultural icons

The Victorian Government is backing Victorian sport, tourism and creative industries, with $150 million to save jobs and ensure the State’s best experiences are available on the other side of the coronavirus pandemic. The Experience Economy Survival Package unveiled today includes $11 million for Victoria’s tourism industry, with funding for the Emerald Tourist Railway Board (Puffing Billy) and other not-for-profit and privately-owned visitor attractions, plus regional tourism boards and the Victorian Tourism Industry Council; and more than $32 million to support creative agencies and initiatives, including funding for the Geelong Arts Centre, Museums Victoria, National Gallery of Victoria, Arts Centre Melbourne and Melbourne Recital Centre.

TAS: New Partnership between TICT & the University of Tasmania offers free courses to eligible tourism operators

The initiative provides eligible Tasmanians the option to complete a new Graduate Certificate, in either Business Studies or Tourism, Environmental and Cultural Heritage, providing an opportunity for upskilling during the COVID-19 related downturn in the tourism and hospitality sector.

 

  1. INSIGHTS

New McKinsey Report: What the World Can Learn from China’s Travel Restart

The Report looks at how China travel has recovered since lockdown restrictions have eased, what Chinese travellers think about future travel, and how industry players are responding to these trends. View the Report here.

Consumer attitudes towards the coronavirus and resuming travel

On last week’s Tourism Australia Industry Webinar, we heard from BDA Marketing Planning’s Director, James Luddington around Australian consumer attitudes towards the coronavirus and towards recommencing travel.

    • By and large, Australians are supportive of how the coronavirus situation has been handled in Australia, with around half of the population believing it’s safe to travel within Australia.
    • 55 per cent of Australians anticipate some change in their holiday behaviour in future, including a preference to travel domestically, taking precautions and avoiding crowds.
    • While the majority of Australians (60 per cent) aren’t thinking about their next holiday right now, a quarter are dreaming about their next holiday and 14 per cent are actively researching and planning.
    • While caution exists around future domestic travel, 60 per cent of Australians are positive about travel, with 27 per cent keen to travel as soon as travel restrictions are lifted. A further 33 per cent would consider travelling once restrictions are lifted.
    • 6-12 months is the most popular bracket of time for those intending to take a domestic leisure trip (among 37 per cent).

Further steep declines in international arrivals in April

COVID-19 travel restrictions saw a 99 per cent decrease in overseas arrivals to Australia in April 2020, compared with April 2019 according to provisional data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

April's decreases in arrivals and departures were the continuation of a downward trend seen in recent months and comes on top of the record decrease reported for the month of March. These large decreases reflect the travel restrictions progressively put in place by the Australian Government from the beginning of February due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

More information here.

  1. INFORMATION

 

AUSTRALIA CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

COVIDSafe tracing app now ‘fully-functional’ for IOS and Android

Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, all states and territories have signed up and been trained in using it.

Etihad to resume Melbourne to London route from 15 May

Etihad Airways will offer flights from Melbourne to London, with transit via Abu Dhabi, from May 15.

It will restart the return leg, London to Melbourne, from May 21. Additional safety and security measures will be in place at the destination and passengers will be required to self-quarantine at their port of arrival.

Virgin to keep some international flights under plan put to prospective buyers

According to media reports, Virgin Australia would continue to operate an international network flying to Los Angeles and Tokyo under a confidential management plan put to prospective buyers ahead of a Friday deadline for preliminary bids for the airline.

Two sources close to negotiations, said a resurrected Virgin would also fly to New Zealand, Bali and Fiji under the plan put to interested parties by the airline's management.

Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) delivers COVIDSafe Guidelines to Government

The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) has delivered a set of strategic principles to Government to instil confidence in Australia's business events industry so that COVID-19 restrictions can be safely lifted, and the industry can rapidly restart. BECA and its Safety and Hygiene Subcommittee are now seeking to work closely with officials to ensure a robust and sustainable distinction can be made between highly organised and managed business events in controlled settings and mass gatherings.

GLOBAL CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

 

Vietnam to resume domestic flights by the beginning of June

With no local cases of the coronavirus reported in almost a month and zero deaths, Vietnam has reopened businesses and tourist attractions. Ho Chi Minh City — Vietnam's largest and most congested metropolis of some 9 million people — completely reopened its bus network this week. Vietnam Airlines has said it will resume all domestic flights by the beginning of next month.

Turkey domestic travel to restart at the end of May; international flights to gradually recommence in June

Step by step, people are to be gradually allowed to travel within the country starting at the end of May. In June, international flights will gradually recommence. The Government has developed a certification program for hotels and restaurants which are to be subject to strict regulations. The program has 132 criteria, including ensuring that hygiene regulations are followed, and social distancing is practised. Staff members are also to be trained in measures to prevent the spread of infection.

China reportedly exempting some foreign executives from travel ban

According media reports, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce has told some key foreign companies they can apply for exemptions to the entry ban if they want to get executives back into China. They would still serve a mandatory quarantine. “China will establish fast-track channels for business, logistics, production and technical services professionals from some countries to travel to China under the premise that safe epidemic prevention is ensured,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement in response to a Bloomberg News query.

Wuhan to test all residents by the end of next week as new coronavirus cases emerge

District officials in the city confirmed they have received orders to test the city’s 11 million residents after new infections appeared more than a month after the city ended its lockdown.

12 May 

TOURISM AUSTRALIA SUPPORT

Live from Aus kicks off this Friday

The latest iteration of our With love from Aus campaign; Live from Aus will bring some of Australia’s best tourism offerings ‘live’ into the living rooms of hundreds of thousands of Australians. We’ll be highlighting the best that Australian tourism has to offer, from Australia’s unique culture to stunning natural beauty, world class food and drink and exceptional wildlife. Live from Aus will be hosted by an array of Australian personalities, advocates and industry operators who will educate, entertain and inspire viewers with a range of interactive experiences, including cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, exercise classes, cultural immersion sessions and Australian wildlife encounters.

Live from Aus will kick off on Friday 15 May with a special one-hour broadcast at 7:30pm on The Project on Network Ten. ‘The Love Australia Project’, proudly supported by Tourism Australia, will be headlined by some of the nation’s favourite tourism and entertainment personalities who will help shine a spotlight on our unparalleled offerings. This will be followed by a full weekend program on 16 and 17 May of live content on Tourism Australia’s social media channels.

How can you get involved?

  • Watch the special ‘Love Australia Project’ on Channel 10 this Friday night at 7:30pm
  • Join the Facebook event to stream all the content and send an invitation to your mates
  • Share the content with your friends and families using #SeeAustralia
  • Find out more information, including the full schedule at tourism.australia.com/livefromaus.

More information is available here.

Register for this week’s Tourism Australia industry webinar – Friday 9am

This week’s line-up of speakers includes Bob East, Chair of Tourism Australia and Experience Co talking about the industry, investment and opportunities ahead; Eva Seller, Regional General Manager, Continental Europe giving us an update on the latest in Europe; and John Hart, Executive Chairman of the Australian Chamber of Commerce – Tourism and TA Board Director providing an update on the Tourism Restart Taskforce and to provide some insight into how business might face reopening. The webinar takes place at 9am this Friday 15 May 2020. Don’t forget to register here.

OTHER INDUSTRY SUPPORT – CORONAVIRUS AND BUSHFIRES

New Planning tool to help businesses reopen and be COVIDSafe

The National COVID-19 Coordination Commission has created an online tool to help business develop a plan to keep their workers, customers and the community safe as they reopen or increase their activities in the weeks and months ahead.

The tool which can be downloaded here complements the Safe Work Australia online hub, which remains the definitive source of information for businesses to understand their work health and safety obligations.  

 

Tasmania supporting businesses with new “Buy Something Tasmanian” online marketplace

The marketplace allows Tasmanian businesses to list and sell their products and services to a new and wider range of customers.

Since launching just five days ago, more than 760 Tasmanian businesses have already created listings, and there have been around 72,000 total page visits. To join the marketplace visit here.

Further support for Tasmanian businesses has been set out in the Government’s Social and Economic Stimulus Package.

Businesses looking for assistance or information should contact Business Tasmania on 1800 440 026, via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit www.business.tas.gov.au

 

National Bushfire Recovery Agency announces extra funding of $650 million

The Australian Government has today unveiled a new $650 million package to support locally-led bushfire recovery with additional funding and support from the Commonwealth. Part of the $2 billion National Bushfire Recovery Fund, this package is focused on reviving and strengthening local economies; ensuring community wellbeing for the long-term; rebuilding infrastructure; and nurturing our environment and native wildlife back to health. More than $448.5 million will be used to fast-track the delivery of locally-led projects that align to recovery plans in impacted regions.

For more information on the new measures visit the National Bushfire Recovery website.

INDUSTRY INSIGHTS – CORONAVIRUS

Research shows Indian, German and Chinese consumers less cautious about spending money on travel in the short-term

Deloitte has set up a consumer tracker involving biweekly surveys of consumers across 13 countries to assess shifts in consumer confidence and sentiment over time. In the latest findings, Australians and Canadian consumers display the most caution with respect to spending money on travel over the next four weeks, while India, China and Germany display the least. Australians are less likely than the global average to plan to travel for leisure in the next three months – currently, 15 per cent feel safe to fly, 22 per cent feel safe staying in a hotel, and 9 per cent are actively searching for travel deals. Over the next three months, 62 per cent of consumers across all markets plan to limit their use of public transport and 53 per cent plan to limit their use of ride sharing.

 

UNWTO says global tourism faces its worst crisis since records began in 1950

According to a report released today by the United Nations’ World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the travel industry could see a decline in international arrivals of between 58 and 80 per cent this year. The 58 per cent figure would be based on the gradual reopening of international borders and easing of travel restrictions by July, while the 80 per cent figure accounts for a reopening and easing by early December. Based on the worst case scenario, the crisis threatens the livelihoods of as many as 120 million people who directly depend on tourism for employment, as a result of the loss of 850 million to 1.1 billion tourists. This translates to a potential financial drop in tourism export revenues of $1.4 to $1.84 trillion. Read the Report here.

AUSTRALIA COVID-19 UPDATE

 

WA restrictions relaxed from 18 May: regional travel boundaries reduced

West Australian Premier Mark McGowan yesterday announced the second phase of the State’s four phase roadmap for reopening the state's economy, doubling the number of people allowed at non-work gatherings and removing some regional travel borders. WA’s borders will remain closed to other States and Territories.

Restaurants and cafes to open

Indoor and outdoor non-work gatherings of up to 20 people will be permitted, while restaurants and cafes will be allowed to open dine-in services for up to 20 patrons, provided they adhere to the foursquare metre density rule. The rule will apply to pubs, bars, community clubs, hotels and the casino.  All businesses which reopen will be required to complete an official COVID-19 safety plan — the details of which are expected to be announced this week.

Regional travel boundaries reduced

WA's temporary regional borders have been reduced from 13 to 4, allowing travel between some regions that were previously closed off.

Travel will be permitted within the Mid-West, Gascoyne and Pilbara; the Esperance-Goldfields region; and within the Kimberley.

Restrictions will be removed in the remaining regions — including the South West, Great Southern, Wheatbelt and Peel — to permit travel between those areas and Perth.

Travel between Perth and the other regions will remain prohibited, and WA's interstate border will remain shut for now.

The changes will take effect from Monday, May 18.

The third phase of the WA Government’s plan is expected to be implemented in approximately four weeks.

More information about the changes to Western Australia’s coronavirus restrictions and the State’s COVID-19 Roadmap is available here.

 

NSW coronavirus restrictions to ease this Friday

After assessing the new framework from the National Cabinet agreed last Friday, the NSW Government has announced a further easing of State-wider restrictions.

From Friday 15 May, the following activities will be allowed in NSW:

  • Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people
  • Cafes and restaurants can seat ten patrons at any one time
  • Households can have up to 5 visitors at any one time
  • Weddings can have up to 10 guests
  • Indoor funerals can have up to 20 mourners and outdoor funerals up to 30
  • Religious gatherings and places of worship can have up to 10 worshippers
  • Outdoor equipment can be used with caution
  • Outdoor pools can open with restrictions

Rules around physical distancing and regional travel restrictions remain in place.

The Premier has advised that it will consider steps two and three of the Australian Government’s Roadmap to a COVIDSafe Australia in due course.

Victoria announces slight easing of coronavirus lockdown

The Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has today announced a “cautious easing” of the State’s coronavirus restrictions while making it clear that his Government’s message remains unchanged: “If you can stay at home, stay at home”.

From midnight Tuesday 12 May, Victorians will be permitted to leave their homes in five limited circumstances:

  • shopping for food and supplies
  • care and caregiving
  • exercise and outdoor recreation
  • work and education that cannot be done from home
  • visiting friends and family where it is necessary

These activities will be subject to the following restrictions:

  • outdoor gatherings are permitted with up to 10 people
  • indoor gatherings at home are permitted, with 5 visitors able to visit the normal residents of a household
  • the ability to leave the house for exercise will be expanded to include outdoor recreational activities. These activities can occur in groups of up to 10 people outside, but the requirements on physical distancing remain
  • for weddings 10 guests are allowed, plus the couple and the celebrant
  • for funerals, 20 people will be allowed at an indoor ceremony and 30 people at an outside ceremony. This is in addition to the minimum people required to conduct the funeral
  • religious gatherings and ceremonies will be permitted with up to 10 people, plus those required to perform the ceremony

More information about the changes is available here.

South Australia launches campaign to ‘Welcome Back’ intrastrate travel

With restrictions on intrastate travel and outdoor dining eased this week for South Australians, the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) today launched its Welcome Back campaign. South Australia is not only easing restrictions on regional travel, it is encouraging its people to get out and about across its 12 regions – while maintaining social distancing. In addition, cafes and restaurants can open for a maximum of 10 people outside, a positive first step for some of the State’s hospitality industry. The SATC’s Welcome Back campaign uses imagery from across SA’s regions with a focus on nature-based experiences, road-tripping and camping, aligning with stage one in the state’s roadmap to recovery. To help ensure South Australians feel welcomed back, the campaign includes region-specific collateral designed so that regional tourism stakeholders and operators can post on their own social media platforms, helping strengthen the ‘welcome back’ message. The campaign was launched to media today at Adelaide Oval by SATC chief executive Rodney Harrex, and SA-icon Hans, as well as a countdown video featuring notable South Australians celebrating the easing of the first raft of restrictions. Watch the countdown of a different kind here. Consumers can go to southaustralia.com to explore how travel restrictions have been lifted and start planning their next trip in SA.

 

GLOBAL COVID-19 UPDATE

UK Government outlines its plan to transition out of lockdown

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday announced a loosening of the UK's coronavirus lockdown rules. From Wednesday, people in England will be allowed to spend as much time as they want outside and travel to work if they cannot work from home, providing social-distancing measures are followed and the rate of infection stays below one.

The Prime Minister stated that schools and non-essential shops could begin to reopen in June, and some parts of the hospitality industry from July.  The announcement was accompanied by a change in public health messaging from “Stay at home” to “Stay alert” for which the Prime Minister has been heavily criticised.

To hear the full announcement visit here.

France begins the road to recovery after 55 days in lockdown

After 55 days in almost total lockdown due to the coronavirus, France will today begin to relax its coronavirus measures. Small shops and markets can open with restrictions on the amount of people, while bars, restaurants, cafes and large museums will remain closed. Movement between regions and administrative districts will be restricted: people have been asked not to travel beyond a 100 km radius from their home without a compelling reason.

 

Colombian airline Avianca files for bankruptcy protection

The carrier is the second largest in Latin America, but its passenger operations have been grounded since March because of coronavirus. It said the pandemic had cut more than 80% of its income, and it was struggling with high fixed costs. If it fails to come out of bankruptcy, Avianca will be the first major airline to go under amid the pandemic.

 

8 May

AUSTRALIA CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

National Cabinet outlines a Roadmap to a COVIDSafe Australia

Regional travel to resume at discretion of States and Territories; international travel “not likely in the near future”

The three-step framework to ease the rules agreed today sets out a roadmap to achieve a COVID- safe economy and society by July this year.  The framework will be implemented at a pace set by individual states and territories to suit their local circumstances.

Stage 1 allows restaurants and cafes to reopen. People will be able to undertake local and regional travel. Cabinet will review the stages every three weeks.

At a press conference this afternoon to  unveil the new framework, Australia’s Prime Minister stated that international travel is “not likely in the near future”.

Following the decision, States and Territories have this afternoon announced their individual plans to ease or maintain their current restrictions.

South Australia encourages regional caravanning and camping

South Australia will allow outdoor dining at restaurants and cafes, and re-open university and TAFE tutorials, public libraries and pools, churches, community halls and auctions, from this Monday 11 May, 2020. Premier Steven Marshall has urged South Australians to go back to visiting country areas for caravanning and camping. "Not only are we saying it's possible, in fact we're encouraging it," he said. South Australia’s proposed Roadmap to Recovery is available here.

Queensland hoping for travel right across the State by July

In just over a week in Queensland up to 10 people can gather in a public space, restaurants and cafes will be allowed up to 10 patrons and residents will be permitted to travel up to 150 kilometres from home for recreational purposes.

Regional parts of the state, many of which have been free from coronavirus, are to be given even greater freedoms, allowing up to 20 patrons inside restaurants and pubs with the recreational travel restriction widened to 500 kilometres.

From June 13, if all goes to plan, the restrictions will ease further to allow pubs and eateries a maximum of 20 patrons.

Travel within the entire state is expected to be possible by July. View Queensland’s Roadmap here.

ACT to introduce revised restrictions from midnight tonight

From 11.59pm on Friday 8 May 2020, some COVID-19 restrictions will ease in the ACT. Campsites and National Parks remain closed. More information is available here.

Tasmania to re-open national parks for local recreational use

 

Tasmania has outlined its staged approach to easing coronavirus restrictions. From 11 May National Parks and reserves will be open to residents for exercise within 30km of their home.

Tasmania’s Roadmap can be viewed here.

NSW and VIC not expected to ease any restrictions this week

As the States hardest hit by the coronavirus, the Premiers of NSW and Victoria have advised that they will not be easing coronavirus restrictions without due consideration.

WA coronavirus plan to be released on Sunday

The WA Premier indicated today that the State’s plan to relax restrictions will be laid out in full over the weekend.

Northern Territory Roadmap to the new normal

The Northern Territory Government is taking incremental steps towards easing restrictions put in place to combat coronavirus (COVID-19). View the Territory’s “Roadmap to the new normal” here.

INDUSTRY SUPPORT

QLD passes payroll tax exemption on JobKeeper payments

The Queensland Government has moved to ensure businesses employing Queenslanders will not pay payroll tax on the Federal Government’s JobKeeper payments. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the move was her Government’s latest initiative to support Queensland businesses and Queensland jobs.

INDUSTRY INSIGHTS

South Australians look forward to domestic travel when bans lift

The Royal Automobile Association of South Australia says a membership survey has shown that 59 per cent of people plan to travel domestically within a year of restrictions being lifted. 14 per cent say they are likely to go overseas within 12 months of restrictions on travel being eased.

GLOBAL UPDATE

Coronavirus cases decline in Western Europe, but increase in other parts of the world

The WHO Director General has reported that since the beginning of April, an average of around 80,000 new cases have been reported to WHO every day. The number of cases reported from Western Europe is declining, more cases are being reported every day from Eastern Europe, Africa, South-East Asia, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Americas.

Of all deaths reported globally, the majority have been reported from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and France. The United Kingdom has overtaken Italy as the country with the greatest number of deaths in Europe.

Of the confirmed cases reported globally, the case fatality rate is approximately 6.9%.

Countries beginning to see large outbreaks include Russia, Brazil, Peru, India, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Pakistan and Chile.

Hong Kong reopens entertainment venues

Hong Kong will start reopening most public entertainment venues and allow people to go out in groups of up to eight from tonight as the city begins easing social-distancing rules, on the back of 16 straight days without a new local coronavirus infection.

 

6 May

Live from Aus – Announcement and Launch to Come

Tomorrow TA will be announcing an exciting new virtual travel activation that we’re calling Live from Aus.

An extension of our With Love from Aus campaign, Live from Aus will bring some of Australia’s best tourism offerings ‘live’ into the living rooms of hundreds of thousands of Australians. We’ll be highlighting the best that Australian tourism has to offer, from Australia’s unique culture to stunning natural beauty, world class food and drink and exceptional wildlife.  Live from Aus will be hosted by an array of Australian personalities, advocates and industry operators who will educate, entertain and inspire viewers with a range of interactive experiences, including cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, exercise classes, cultural immersion sessions and Australian wildlife encounters. 

Kick off launch - on 15 May on The Project

Live from Aus will kick off on Friday 15 May with a special one-hour broadcast at 7:30pm on The Project on Network Ten. ‘The Love Australia Project’, proudly supported by Tourism Australia, will be headlined by some of the nation’s favourite tourism and entertainment personalities who will help shine a spotlight on our unparalleled offerings. This will be followed by a full weekend program on 16 and 17 May of live content on Tourism Australia’s social media channels. 

Focussed on dreaming - at a time when TV viewership is up

Even though the ability to travel is currently on hold and the timing of the recovery is still uncertain, it is important that Australia does not go quiet as a destination. While people can't travel right now, they can still dream and plan for future holidays. Tourism Australia’s marketing job right now is about keeping Australia front of mind for domestic and international travellers by using this enforced period of self-isolation to engage with people in their living rooms, feed their escapism and inspire them to travel again once the restrictions start to lift. With the world in various stages of isolation, people are turning to media for information, entertainment and inspiration. Traditional TV viewership has increased 63 per cent, and internet browsing by 70 per cent. As part of that, viewership of live content across social channels has nearly tripled in the past month. Live from Aus aims to capitalise on this trend by feeding consumers desire for positive and engaging content. This will place Australia in the best possible position to capture pent-up travel demand once travel restrictions lift and people can travel again.

Factsheet attached

A factsheet is attached with further information about the campaign. You can also refer to our corporate site – tourism.australia.com/livefromaus.

Webinar – more details to come

We will be sharing more information about Live from Aus program on the webinar this Friday, which has a focus on the domestic market - so make sure you tune in. Register here.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

 

AUSTRALIA NEWS

 

Trans-Tasman tourism bubble will launch ‘as soon as it’s safe’

New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, joined Australia’s National Cabinet yesterday to discuss a trans-Tasman travel zone with Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison. Both have committed to a travel zone ‘when it's safe to do so’. Australia’s National Cabinet will review the country’s current coronavirus restrictions this Friday 8 May 2020.

NT releases ‘Roadmap to the new normal

As one of the first Australian states to recover from the coronavirus, the Northern Territory Government is taking incremental steps towards easing restrictions put in place to combat the virus. The Territory has unveiled a 3 stage roadmap to find out what will change and when changes will happen.

Qantas extends flight cancellations

The Qantas Group has continued to strengthen its ability to deal with the short and likely long-term impacts of the coronavirus crisis. It has also extended flight cancellations from end-May through to the end of July, which were still at pre-coronavirus levels - but some capacity can be added back in if domestic and Trans-Tasman restrictions ease in coming weeks.

 

Class Action threat for tourism providers over vouchers

Law firm Slater and Gordon announced on Monday they would be pursuing a class action against major travel providers including airlines, travel agents and tour companies, to investigate whether they had breached legal obligations to customers for refusing to provide refunds. As of Monday afternoon, they had registered more than 400 expressions of interest. Slater and Gordon also said the class action was looking into airlines, such as Jetstar.

 

Jetstar to slash prices to stimulate demand; Non-stop NY-London flight on hold

Qantas boss Alan Joyce has said the airline’s budget arm Jetstar could cut airfares on the Sydney to Melbourne route as low as $19 to stimulate passenger demand once COVID-19 travel restrictions ease. The airline on Tuesday also said it would put its plan to fly non-stop to New York and London on hold in light of the pandemic bringing international travel demand to a halt

 

 

INDUSTRY SUPPORT

Support for tourism businesses in National Parks

Tourism businesses operating in Commonwealth National Parks managed by Parks Australia will benefit from a new financial relief package made available through the Australian Government’s $1 billion Relief and Recovery Fund. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the package would provide temporary relief from licence and permit charges for tourism businesses operating in Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Parks. Eligible businesses will be contacted directly by Parks Australia to facilitate the payments.

New health and safety guidelines and tools for managing the workplace risks of COVID-19

Safe Work Australia, an Australian government statutory body established to develop national policy, has released a number of work health and safety guidelines and tools for Australian workplaces to use in managing the health and safety risks posed by the coronavirus. The Restaurant and Catering Industry Association has also released ‘COVID-19 Best Practice Guidelines’ to provide guidance for food service businesses to help them prepare for a return to work as States and Territories begin to ease coronavirus restrictions.

 

Northern Territory establishes taskforce for tourism industry recovery

The Northern Territory Government has established a Tourism Rebound Taskforce to provide strategic and practical advice on a potential recovery roadmap for the local tourism industry which has been hard hit by COVID-19 measures. The Taskforce will provide a national and international perspective on forging a pathway to recovery, bringing together leaders from across the tourism sector with expertise in accommodation and hospitality, drive tourism, aviation and touring. The nine member Tourism Rebound Taskforce is chaired by Tourism NT’s Chair of the Board of Commissioners, Mr Michael Bridge.

Further Federal Government support for aviation

The Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA), which covers the majority of pilots in the Qantas Group, has welcomed an extension of Federal Government support for the aviation industry. Qantas has been given approval for an additional 4 weeks of International flights to London Heathrow LHR (twice weekly) and Los Angeles LAX (1 per week.)

Funding for critical remote airstrip upgrades

The Remote Airstrip Upgrade (RAU) Program is part of the Australian Government's Regional Aviation Access Programme (RAAP) and provides funding for upgrades to remote airstrips in isolated outback communities. The key objective of the RAU program is to enhance the safety and accessibility of aerodromes in remote areas of Australia and facilitate improved delivery of essential goods and services including health care. Applications for funding can be made by airstrip owners, such as community groups, Indigenous organisations and local governments in remote areas that require aerodrome upgrades. More information is available here.

INDUSTRY INSIGHTS

Economists predict Australia’s international borders will remain closed until 2021

Australian border restrictions won’t be lifted until the start of 2021 at the very earliest, nearly 90% of Australian economists forecasted in a survey conducted by Finder. Of the 31 consulted, two even expected it wouldn’t be until 2022 that free travel returns. That’s with the exception of travel between Australia and New Zealand, which the two governments have discussed as a likely exemption once they are satisfied with COVID-19 containment efforts.

Australians may not be ready to come out of lockdown

Australians may remain hesitant to venture out of their homes or gather in large groups even if the nation's various coronavirus restrictions are eased or lifted, a study has found, leading to fresh concerns for key sectors. A new survey of 2,225 people by Vox Pop Labs in collaboration with the ABC has found that only about one in eight Australians would attend a large event even if they could, fewer than one in five would get on a plane, and only 40% would go to a bar or restaurant.

 

Australians starting to resume in-person activities

According to McKinsey & Company survey data collected in Australia from 24-26 April 2020, concerns about spending, income and job security have started to decrease among Australian consumers. As Australians start to spend more time outside their homes, they are demonstrating the intention to resume in-person activities after COVID-19, with the exception of international travel. However, concerns among the economy, uncertainty about the duration of the situation and overall public health remain, with 61% of Australians concerned about the Australian economy.

Chinese consumers recovering their optimism

McKinsey & Company is tracking consumer sentiment across 40 countries to determine areas of increased spending and the adoption of new brands, channels and behaviours which are likely to remain in a post COVID-19 environment. Overall, European countries are the least optimistic, while China’s optimism is higher, with Chinese consumers’ intent to spend across select categories starting to recover.

Industry leaders share their thoughts with TTF

Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) Australia has launched a new series of virtual interviews – TTF Talks – to share the insights and opinions of industry leaders across the sector. The series, hosted by TTF Chief Executive Officer Margy Osmond, highlights thoughts around business survival, industry adaptation and the road to recovery post COVID-19 and bushfires. Participants to date include host of ABC’s Insiders David Speers, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow, IHG Managing Director Australasia and Japan Leanne Harwood, The Star Entertainment Group CEO and Managing Director, Matt Bekier, and Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia CEO, Grant Hunt. The interviews are available to view on demand via the TTF website, or TTF’s YouTube channel.

GLOBAL NEWS

Virgin Atlantic lays off thousands of staff as coronavirus pandemic takes toll

British airline Virgin Atlantic plans to cut 3,150 jobs and move its London Gatwick operations to Heathrow Airport as it counts the cost of the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline said it continued to explore all available options to get extra funding through talks with the UK Government and other stakeholders about possible support for the airline.

New York Governor outlines phased approach to regional re-openings

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday outlined additional guidelines for when regions can re-open. The State will monitor four core factors to determine if a region can re-open: new infections; health care capacity; diagnostic testing capacity; and contact tracing capacity. 

Japan extends State of Emergency until May

The government of Japan has extended a state of emergency over the coronavirus pandemic until the end of May, warning it was too soon to lift restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

INTERNATIONAL RECOVERY PLANS & RESOURCES

St. Augustine, Florida launches Recovery Toolkit

The city of St. Augustine, in Florida has a plan to get a list of tourist activities back on track: Indoor shops, museums and libraries can open at 25% capacity, hotels and lodging can reopen at their discretion, trolley tours and horse-drawn carriages can start up again with limited operations. St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra Beach and the Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau have released a "Recovery Tool Kit” to help local businesses ease back into reopening. The online guide includes financial, operational, and tourism resources.

4 May 2020 

Join our webinar this Friday: Domestic travel – What we know so far, our strategy and approach to come, and our new activation 

 

Date and time: 11am to 12pm, 8 May 2020

 

Speakers:

  • TA Update & our new marketing initiative - Pip Harrison, MD and Susan Coghill, CMO, TA
  • The domestic landscape - insights and sentiment - James Luddington, bda. Marketing Planning.
  • TA’s domestic strategy and approach, Robin Mack, EGM, Commercial, TA.

Register for the webinar here.

 

 

AUSTRALIA NEWS

 

RECOVERY

South Australia establishes transition team to manage post COVID-19

To guide the process of both continuing to move out of the COVID-19 health emergency and restore the social and economic health of the State, South Australia’s Premier, Steven Marshall has established a transition team. The Transition Committee will look at which restrictions should be eased and in what order.

Queensland restaurants lobbying for June reopening

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she would begin discussions with the industry this week to work out how restaurants and cafes could be "COVID-safe".

Restaurant and Catering Australia CEO Wes Lambert said he was hoping for a re-opening within weeks and has proposed the following guidelines:

  • A register of guests
  • Tables and chairs cleaned after each patron
  • Disposable menus
  • Disposable or recyclable cutlery

Mr Lambert has said that the state’s current social distancing restrictions would also need to be relaxed for restaurants to re-open profitably.

INSIGHTS

Research shows hard times for Australia’s hotels

The team at Dransfield have reforecast their Hotel Futures Report 2020 and expect a reduction of 5500 rooms in the development pipeline for Sydney (2500) and Melbourne (3000) between now and 2028 as development feasibility becomes more challenged.

Before the crisis, Sydney had an 87 per cent average occupancy rate, among the highest in the world, with Melbourne at a very healthy 83 per cent. Dransfield are forecasting room demand in both cities will start to recover from September, but it won't be until FY 2022 that Sydney’s occupancy reach 75-80% and 70-75% in Melbourne.

Many WA businesses confident they will survive the pandemic

Western Australia's Regional Chambers of Commerce and Industry has found business confidence has risen across the state.

Western Australia, alongside the Northern Territory and Queensland, has moved to reopen parts of their state much sooner because of sustained low numbers of COVID-19 cases.

Now some of the hardest hit businesses, including hospitality and tourism operators in cut off regional areas, are reporting back to their industry body with unexpected assuredness.

The state's Regional Chambers of Commerce and Industry recently polled 371 businesses across WA and over three-quarters said they were confident they would outlast the pandemic

RESTRICTIONS

NZ PM to join National Cabinet meeting tomorrow

 

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinta Ardern will join Australia’s National Cabinet when it meets tomorrow. They are expected to discuss a mooted "trans-tasman bubble" that would allow Kiwis and Australians to freely travel between countries.

Cabinet is due to consider Australia’s potential for relaxing its current coronavirus pandemic restrictions on 8, May, 2020.

GLOBAL NEWS

Spain, Italy and France start to win the coronavirus battle

 

France, Italy and Spain have registered the lowest daily death tolls for weeks as they prepare to ease restrictions. France reported 135 deaths; Spain's 164 were the lowest since mid-March; and Italy's 174 was a two-month low.

 

Hong Kong prepares to lift first round of coronavirus restrictions

 

Hong Kong's government will distribute reusable face masks to all 7.4 million citizens next week as the territory prepares to lift a first round of coronavirus-related restrictions.

The planned handouts would come amid an easing of public health restrictions, including the reopening of libraries and outdoor fitness centres.

Some major airlines are now requiring facemasks

 

Many big US airlines are bringing in new health and safety policies for both passengers and cabin crew this week.

Other carriers around the world are also making mask wearing mandatory for when they restart flights.

Airlines, which have been severely hit during the coronavirus downturn, said they only plan to enforce the measure for a temporary period.

From Monday, US carrier Delta said it requires passengers to wear a mask or other face covering in the check-in area, premium lounges, boarding gate areas and onboard planes for the whole flight.

American Airlines and United have also said that they will start requiring masks for passengers, along with cabin crew when they resume business.

But not all airlines are making passengers wear face masks. Qantas said there “are no requirements in Australia to wear masks. No decisions have been made by the Government or airlines about what measures will be put in place for travel once restrictions are lifted.”

Join our webinar this Friday: Domestic travel – What we know so far, our strategy and approach to come, and our new activation 

 

Date and time: 11am to 12pm, 8 May 2020

 

Speakers:

  • TA Update & our new marketing initiative - Pip Harrison, MD and Susan Coghill, CMO, TA
  • The domestic landscape - insights and sentiment - James Luddington, bda. Marketing Planning.
  • TA’s domestic strategy and approach, Robin Mack, EGM, Commercial, TA.

Register for the webinar here.

 

 

AUSTRALIA NEWS

 

RECOVERY

South Australia establishes transition team to manage post COVID-19

To guide the process of both continuing to move out of the COVID-19 health emergency and restore the social and economic health of the State, South Australia’s Premier, Steven Marshall has established a transition team. The Transition Committee will look at which restrictions should be eased and in what order.

Queensland restaurants lobbying for June reopening

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she would begin discussions with the industry this week to work out how restaurants and cafes could be "COVID-safe".

Restaurant and Catering Australia CEO Wes Lambert said he was hoping for a re-opening within weeks and has proposed the following guidelines:

  • A register of guests
  • Tables and chairs cleaned after each patron
  • Disposable menus
  • Disposable or recyclable cutlery

Mr Lambert has said that the state’s current social distancing restrictions would also need to be relaxed for restaurants to re-open profitably.

INSIGHTS

Research shows hard times for Australia’s hotels

The team at Dransfield have reforecast their Hotel Futures Report 2020 and expect a reduction of 5500 rooms in the development pipeline for Sydney (2500) and Melbourne (3000) between now and 2028 as development feasibility becomes more challenged.

Before the crisis, Sydney had an 87 per cent average occupancy rate, among the highest in the world, with Melbourne at a very healthy 83 per cent. Dransfield are forecasting room demand in both cities will start to recover from September, but it won't be until FY 2022 that Sydney’s occupancy reach 75-80% and 70-75% in Melbourne.

Many WA businesses confident they will survive the pandemic

Western Australia's Regional Chambers of Commerce and Industry has found business confidence has risen across the state.

Western Australia, alongside the Northern Territory and Queensland, has moved to reopen parts of their state much sooner because of sustained low numbers of COVID-19 cases.

Now some of the hardest hit businesses, including hospitality and tourism operators in cut off regional areas, are reporting back to their industry body with unexpected assuredness.

The state's Regional Chambers of Commerce and Industry recently polled 371 businesses across WA and over three-quarters said they were confident they would outlast the pandemic

RESTRICTIONS

NZ PM to join National Cabinet meeting tomorrow

 

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinta Ardern will join Australia’s National Cabinet when it meets tomorrow. They are expected to discuss a mooted "trans-tasman bubble" that would allow Kiwis and Australians to freely travel between countries.

Cabinet is due to consider Australia’s potential for relaxing its current coronavirus pandemic restrictions on 8, May, 2020.

GLOBAL NEWS

Spain, Italy and France start to win the coronavirus battle

 

France, Italy and Spain have registered the lowest daily death tolls for weeks as they prepare to ease restrictions. France reported 135 deaths; Spain's 164 were the lowest since mid-March; and Italy's 174 was a two-month low.

 

Hong Kong prepares to lift first round of coronavirus restrictions

 

Hong Kong's government will distribute reusable face masks to all 7.4 million citizens next week as the territory prepares to lift a first round of coronavirus-related restrictions.

The planned handouts would come amid an easing of public health restrictions, including the reopening of libraries and outdoor fitness centres.

Some major airlines are now requiring facemasks

 

Many big US airlines are bringing in new health and safety policies for both passengers and cabin crew this week.

Other carriers around the world are also making mask wearing mandatory for when they restart flights.

Airlines, which have been severely hit during the coronavirus downturn, said they only plan to enforce the measure for a temporary period.

From Monday, US carrier Delta said it requires passengers to wear a mask or other face covering in the check-in area, premium lounges, boarding gate areas and onboard planes for the whole flight.

American Airlines and United have also said that they will start requiring masks for passengers, along with cabin crew when they resume business.

But not all airlines are making passengers wear face masks. Qantas said there “are no requirements in Australia to wear masks. No decisions have been made by the Government or airlines about what measures will be put in place for travel once restrictions are lifted.”

 

1 May 2020

National cabinet brings decision forward to relax social distancing restrictions

Australia’s National Cabinet has agreed today to bring forward a decision to relax coronavirus restrictions to next Friday, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison citing the good work of citizens so far.

“Australians have earned an early mark through the work that they have done,” he said.

Mr Morrison once again encouraged people to download the COVID Safe app comparing going outside without it to not wearing sunscreen.

“We need that tool so we can open up our economy,” he said.

Over 3.5 million Australians have downloaded the tracing App.

National Cabinet was due to review Australia’s restrictions on 11 May but has brought forward the review to May 8.

Some Australian parks, forests and reserves will relax coronavirus restrictions this weekend

 

Some Queensland national parks and state forests will re-open from midnight tonight. Camping

areas, barbecues and some swimming areas will remain closed for public safety.

For more information visit Queensland Parks and Forests.

A number of Northern Territory parks and reserves will also reopen tonight. Areas that will re-open including swimming spots, will depend on safety and environmental checks. Find out more here.

The Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta national parks, which are managed by the Federal Government will stay closed to visitors and other non-essential travellers until 11:59 pm on June 18.

Adopt-a-backpacker to help your business

The coronavirus pandemic has left backpackers travelling across Australia stranded. A growing social media movement is encouraging Australians to 'Adopt a Backpacker', connecting travellers in this unprecedented crisis with spare rooms, space for camping or even farm work. To find out more visit here.

Victoria’s ‘Hotels for Heroes’ program expanded for frontline workers

Police, firefighters and other frontline workers will get access to free accommodation if they need to self-isolate due to the coronavirus. Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville and Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers Luke Donnellan have announced that the Victorian Government will expand its Hotels for Heroes program to include even more critical workforces.

‘Hotels for Heroes’ provides free accommodation in hotels or apartments for frontline workers who have had exposure to coronavirus or have a positive coronavirus diagnosis and cannot safely self-isolate at home. The program is already available to clinical and non-clinical hospital staff - including cooks and cleaners - at public and private hospitals that directly engage with patients, as well as frontline paramedics and patient transport staff.

                                                        

Tasmania establishes advisory council to advise on the recovery from COVID-19

 

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein has established an Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council to provide advice to the Government on strategies and initiatives to support the short to medium, and longer-term recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Recovery Council will provide advice and recommendations on how to best mitigate the economic and social impacts of the pandemic. It will also identify opportunities for economic and social renewal.

 

29 April 2020

New Initiatives coming to get everyone dreaming

 

Over the coming weeks, Tourism Australia will be launching new initiatives designed to encourage Australians to start dreaming about their next domestic holiday.  With international borders likely to remain closed for some time, we will be increasing our focus on the domestic market. Whilst domestic tourism alone won’t fill the vacuum of lost international business, more Australians travelling domestically has the potential to deliver much needed revenue to our industry.

 

Webinar with Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham

 

Our regular industry webinar also continues this Friday, 1 May at 11am. This week we will be joined by Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham and Tourism Australia’s Regional General Manager, for South and South East Asia, Brent Anderson, who will give an update on the region. Register here.

 

Applications are now open for Tourism Australia’s Business Events Advance Program 20/21

 

I’m pleased to announce also that applications are now open for Tourism Australia’s Business Events Advance Program 20/21. The Advance Program is a partnership marketing initiative that provides financial assistance to support marketing and distribution projects aimed at driving visitation to Australia for business events. This year, due to the coronavirus, Tourism Australia has expanded the application criteria to allow greater access for smaller projects. This includes lowering the minimum project request amount to $10,000, offering two rounds of applications per year, and streamlining the application process. A webinar explaining the Advance Program will take place on 30 April 2020 at 2pm (AEST). Register for the webinar here. For more information see the  Advance Program Prospectus. Applications for round one close on Monday 1 June 2020.

Kind regards,

Pip

AUSTRALIA RESTRICTIONS

Distancing restrictions easing across Australian States and Territories. National relaxation – ‘not too far away’

Speaking at a press conference today, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia is ‘not too far away’ from easing coronavirus restrictions.

Queensland, the Northern Territory, New South Wales and Western Australia have already begun to relax some measures.

The PM reiterated that one of the most important tools to help fast-track restrictions being lifted was the Government's COVIDSafe tracing app. The app, which is intended to speed up the process of identifying people who have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with the coronavirus, has already been downloaded by over 2.8 million Australians.

National Cabinet will meet again on 11 May 2020 to discuss potential changes to social distancing measures at the national level.

COVIDSafe can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Queensland and Northern Territory begin to reopen Parks this weekend

Queenslanders will be able to visit some of their national parks and state forests from midnight 1 May 2020. Camping areas, barbecues and some swimming areas will remain closed for public safety.

North Stradbroke Island, Moreton Island and Fraser Island (K’gari) will remain closed to visitors and recreation areas including Bribie Island and Cooloola will remain closed to four-wheel driving.

A number of Northern Territory parks and reserves will reopen from midday on 1 May 2020 for camping, swimming and hiking. Local operators will be able to recommence tours provided they ensure effective hygiene and physical distancing precautions are in place. Accommodation providers will also be able to accept bookings. Find out more here.

The Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta national parks, which are managed by the Federal Government will stay closed to visitors and other non-essential travellers until 11:59 pm on June 18.

INDUSTRY SUPPORT

$95 million lifeline for zoos, aquariums and animal sanctuaries

Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham announced yesterday that Australia's zoos, aquariums and animal sanctuaries will receive a $94.6 million support package to help them get through the coronavirus. The funding which is part of the government’s $1 billion Relief and Recovery Fund, will assist exhibiting zoos and aquariums with the fixed operational costs associated with the caring of their animals, while also helping to ensure Australian zoos and aquariums can remain viable and ready to welcome visitors when restrictions are eased. More information is available here.

JobKeeper payment rules clarified and deadlines extended to help business cashflow

The Australian Taxation Office is extending the time available for businesses to pay their employees, and still be able to claim back the first JobKeeper payments. Businesses suffering from a significant reduction in turnover due to COVID-19 will now have until 8 May 2020 to ensure all eligible employees have received a minimum of $3,000 in gross wages for the first two fortnights of the JobKeeper support period. This means more businesses will be able to pay staff and still be eligible for JobKeeper payments, keeping more Australians connected to their workplace.

To ensure the integrity and the efficient operation of the JobKeeper payment the Government has also clarified the operation of the scheme’s rules. Business have until 31 May 2020 to formally enrol to claim the payments.

ACT Government support for temporary visa holders and international students

 

Temporary visa holders and international students affected by COVID-19 who are ineligible for Commonwealth assistance programs, will be able to access more support through a $450,000 ACT Government support package.

Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Tertiary Education, Chris Steel, yesterday announced a partnership between the ACT Government and the ACT Refugee, Asylum Seeker and Humanitarian (RASH) Coordination Committee, the Australian Red Cross and local tertiary institutions.

The package for temporary visa holders adds to the Government's Jobs for Canberrans package, which prioritised immediate short-term employment to casual or semi-skilled workers on temporary visas ineligible for the Job Seeker and Job Keeper programs. The Canberra Relief Network is also providing food for temporary visa holders and ACT funding has been announced to help Canberrans facing homelessness, or experiencing domestic and family violence.

National Tourism Restart Taskforce established

Australian Chamber – Tourism has today announced the formation of the Tourism Restart Taskforce. The Taskforce will provide advice to industry and Government on the short, medium and long-term priorities to rebuild tourism in Australia in the wake of the coronavirus. The Taskforce will be chaired by, Jeremy Johnson AM, the Immediate Past President of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and former CEO of the major regional tourist attraction, Sovereign Hill.

New digital training for South Australian tourism operators

 

As part of the South Australia’s $5.7 million support for South Australian tourism businesses, a dedicated Digital Training Program kicks off this week, with more than 350 operators signed up to be guided by experts on how to upskill their digital marketing presence.

COVID-19 Hygiene training sets the course for hospitality recovery in WA

Premier Mark McGowan says WA's hospitality industry is being prepared for a return to business with the launch of a mandatory COVID-19 hygiene training program to protect the public and venue staff. The initiative ensures strong COVID-19 protections will be in place when restrictions are eased in the future. The specialised COVID-19 hygiene training course will need to be successfully completed by every staff member employed at a hospitality venue - with businesses strictly only able to reopen when the requirements are met.

 

INSIGHTS AND RESEARCH

 

New Insights from Tourism Australia’s Consumer Demand Project

Since 2012, Tourism Australia has undertaken research annually to understand how global consumers view Australia as a holiday destination, and what most motivates them to visit our country. Insights from our 'Consumer Demand Project' (CDP) have been used extensively to inform Tourism Australia’s strategic direction and inform the tourism industry of potential opportunities. The latest phase of CDP research, conducted across 12 markets, includes a deep dive into the impact of the coronavirus on future domestic and international travel and booking plans. The top-line findings include:

  • Positive long term consideration and association of Australia as a safe destination continues, with Australia remaining as the most considered out of region destination among all markets. Australia remains the second top out of region destination for association with safety behind Japan.
  • 27% of international consumers are thinking and dreaming about their next holiday with Western markets showing the greatest resilience with respect to future travel plans. Most international consumers intend to take their next international trip in either 6-12 months or 1-2 years.
  • 75% of international respondents say they want to travel to Australia, just not right now. 52% agree that Australia is on the top of their bucket list of countries they want to travel to once it is safe to do so.
  • 21% of Australians are keen to travel within Australia as soon as restrictions are lifted, with a further 31% willing to reconsider domestic travel once restrictions are lifted.
  • 39% of Australians intend to travel domestically in the next 6-12 months with the majority of Australians not intending to travel overseas for at least the next 12 months.

GLOBAL

New Zealand 'eliminates' COVID-19 in the community

 

NZ Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern announced this week that there is no longer any undetected community transmission of COVID-19.

This does not mean the virus has been stamped out but the source of any cases is known. New Zealand’s tough lockdown restrictions eased on Monday.

 

US confirms more than 1 million coronavirus cases

 

The US has confirmed one million virus cases, making up almost a third of the total global tally. With more than 58,000 deaths, more Americans have died from COVID-19 than in the Vietnam War.

Despite the high numbers, several US states, including Texas have begun to ease lockdown restrictions.

BA could make up to 12,000 workers redundant

 

British Airways has warned it could make up to 12,000 workers redundant, because of the collapse in air travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Its parent company predicts that it will be several years until demand returns to recent levels. The airline now begins a negotiation with the unions.

China plane tickets fall 30% ahead of May Day Holiday

 

As China prepares for this year's May Holiday - its first major holiday with COVID-19 mostly under control, hotel prices are just 2% cheaper due to fair demand. Flights are much cheaper - 30% overall - due to limitations with inter-provincial trips, with some routes, offering up to a 90% discount according to Fliggy. About 90 million people are expected to travel over the 5-day holiday, double that of the Tomb Sweeping holiday earlier this month. A survey of 1,000 pre-qualified travellers in tier 1 cities found 53% of consumers would like to travel overseas later this year.

US airline JetBlue requires passenger face masks

Under the new policy starting May 4, passengers will have to cover their nose and mouth throughout their trip, JetBlue said in a statement Monday. That includes when they check in, board the plane, fly and exit the aircraft. The New York-based carrier is also asking customers to follow the same rule in airport terminals.

Beyond face covering requirements for crewmembers and customers, since late March, JetBlue has limited the number of seats available for sale on most flights, allowing the airline to provide additional space between individuals who are not traveling together.

 

27 April 2020

AUSTRALIA

Coronavirus updates

Australia making good progress towards potential easing of coronavirus restrictions

Following a meeting of the National Cabinet this morning, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy unveiled the latest modelling of the coronavirus in Australia. Professor Murphy gave a glowing appraisal of the country’s virus response, stating that cases in the Northern Territory and ACT are so low “that there’s no statistical purpose in showing them.”

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison also noted that all Australia States and Territories have expanded their coronavirus testing criteria in recent days: anyone who believes they may have symptoms of coronavirus can now come forward for testing.

Both the PM and CMO stressed the importance of widespread testing and ensuring robust strategies for containment of the virus are in place before restrictions can be relaxed – but we’re on the right path.

The current measures are due for review by the National Cabinet on 14 May 2020.

Cabinet agrees Safe Workplace Principles with a view to getting Australians back to work

National Cabinet today agreed a set of principles aimed at providing a consistent approach to getting Australians back to work as the country works towards transitioning itself out of lockdown in the coming months. We will share these once they become available.

Coogee, Clovelly and Maroubra beaches close again

The three popular Sydney beaches, which only re-opened on Monday, were closed again this afternoon due to concerns of over-crowding. The beaches will re-open tomorrow but the local Council has warned they will be shut down again if people continue to ignore social-distancing laws.

Coronavirus Industry Support

There’s a wealth of information about financial and other support for businesses doing it tough in the wake of the coronavirus. The information in our newsletters are just a snapshot of new measures, more information is available from official government sources and in Tourism Australia’s, ‘One-Stop-Shop’.  Below are some of the latest support initiatives. If you are aware of/ have created any new programs for industry support please let us know.

Big Four Banks bolster efforts to bridge the gap to JobKeeper

CEOs of ANZ, NAB, Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank today agreed to bolster their efforts to prioritise any business needing funding to bridge the gap until the first JobKeeper payments are made in May.

In a meeting with the Federal Treasurer the ‘Big Four’ banks agreed to set up special hotlines to help manage the applications from businesses. Banks also agreed to bring JobKeeper-related applications to the front of the queue and work with the ATO to accelerate the assessment process.

Other Australian Banking Association member banks are reportedly looking to take actions relevant to their own customers.

South Australian Government announces support for international students

The International Student Support Package is designed to support international students currently residing in South Australia and facing financial hardship.

There are 3 components of the package, include:

Matched funding from the South Australian Government in partnership with the state’s three public universities to alleviate student hardship as a result of the coronavirus; and

A $500 emergency cash grant to other international students not studying at one of the public universities, currently enrolled in a course, living in Adelaide and who meet the criteria.

Support for Regional and Indigenous artists and organisations

 

To help the Arts sector deal with the devastating impact of the coronavirus, the Government has committed $27 million in targeted support across three particularly vulnerable areas of specific need:

  • The Government is providing $10 million to help regional artists and organisations develop new work and explore new delivery models. Funding will be delivered through Regional Arts Australia’s Regional Arts Fund.
  • To support Indigenous artists and arts centres, the Government is providing $7 million in additional funding. The funding will be delivered under the Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support program.
  • The Government is providing $10million to Support Act, to enable it to extend its work.

GLOBAL

 

A new Chinese city enters lockdown

According to media reports the major Chinese city of Harbin has gone into lockdown after an outbreak of coronavirus was detected there.

More than 70 people have been infected and over 4,000 are being tested in the major city after the virus was believed to be 'imported' into the city by a student who had returned from New York

Officials have banned gatherings and ordered communities to closely monitor non-local visitors and vehicles in the city of around 10 million. 

Checkpoints have been installed at the airport and train stations, to screen those coming from elsewhere. 

The news comes as China today announced that there were only two critically ill patients left in Wuhan, the former centre of the pandemic. 

 

 

 

This weeks Tourism Australia webinar will be on Friday 17 April, at 11:00AM AEST (Sydney time). 

This week’s topics and guests

This week’s guests are talking about what you have told us in feedback you want to hear:

  1. Coronavirus Latest Update - Dr Nick Coatsworth, Deputy Chief Medical Officer - will join us to give an update on the latest state of play and also answer some questions direct from you.
  2. TA Update – and US Deep Dive - I will be providing an update on where things are at for TA with a deep dive into the US with Jane Whitehead our Regional General Manager.
  3. Social media and marketing activities – Susan Coghill our Chief Marketing Officer and Anita Godbeer our GM -  PR, Social, Content & Consumer Marketing will join us to talk all things social media, to outline what we are doing at this point in time, and help give you a steer for your own activities.

Registration

Please register here for this week’s call.

Q & A – submit questions in advance

Please submit questions in advance on this week’s topics as you register.

 

23 April 2020

AUSTRALIA

CORONAVIRUS

Australia’s baseline coronavirus restrictions to be reviewed by 14 May 2020

 

National Cabinet met yesterday to take further decisions to protect Australians from the coronavirus.

The Prime Minister and State and Territory Leaders agreed that Australia will continue to progress a successful suppression strategy for the virus based on data that confirms the measures put in place to suppress the virus have largely been successful in slowing and reversing the growth of cases in Australia.

To continue to suppress COVID-19, National Cabinet has commenced further work on Australia’s public health response including enhanced testing, tracing and local health response capabilities. This work will feed into National Cabinet’s review of baseline restrictions by 14 May 2020.

Cabinet will meet again on Friday, 24 April, 2020.

Virgin Australia goes into voluntary administration after bailout fails

 

Despite two conditional bailout attempts by the NSW and Queensland Governments, Virgin Australia yesterday went into voluntary administration, potentially affecting the livelihoods of up to 15,000 staff and contractors. The airline has appointed Deloitte to act as administrators.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed today that he will lend support to the restructure, appointing the CEO of Macquarie Bank to examine the commercial offers on the table.

Tasmania announces $3m package for temporary visa holders

 

The Tasmanian Government has unveiled a new $3 million package to support around 26,000 temporary visa holders who can’t leave the State due to the coronavirus.

Visa holders who can demonstrate immediate financial hardship will be eligible for $250 for individuals and $1000 for families.

Iconic Sydney beaches to reopen next week

 

Waverley Council has voted to re-open Bondi, Bronte and Tamarama beaches. From Tuesday, April 28, the beaches will be open from 7:00am to 5:00pm. The beaches will be closed at weekends, and sunbathing will be banned. The number of people in the water will be monitored and the beaches will be shut if rules are broken.

BUSHFIRES

Invitation to share your views with the Australian Bushfires Royal Commission

 

Individuals and organisations are being encouraged to make a submission about the 2019-20 bushfire season to the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements by Tuesday 28 April 2020.

Commissioner, Dr Annabelle Bennett, said that drawing on what many Australians experienced during the recent bushfires would assist the Commission with its work. Also known as the 'Bushfires Royal Commission', the Commission is accepting public submissions on Australia's preparedness for, response to, and recovery from natural disasters. You can make a submission here.

NSW gives $140 million boost to critical industries damaged by bushfires

 

The NSW Government yesterday announced a $140 million Bushfire Industry Recovery Package to support forestry, horticulture and agriculture industries impacted by the recent bushfires.

Details of funding criteria including amounts available for businesses under this package will be made available with the release of program Guidelines in the coming weeks.

For a full list of bushfire-related support in NSW, visit Service NSW.

GLOBAL

CORONAVIRUS

UK to launch human trials of a coronavirus vaccine this week

 

According to media reports, the UK Health Ministry has announced plans to start human trials of a coronavirus vaccine on Thursday.

Health Secretary has said that an extra $39million in funding has been freed up for the new trials.

The vaccine is reportedly being developed by scientists at Oxford University and a separate team at Imperial College in London.

Germany cancels Oktoberfest 2020

With 6 million visitors attending the Octoberfest, German authorities have deemed the risk of running the event too high at this time.

 

Countries sign up to international Solidarity Trial to evaluate COVID-19 treatments

 

As of 21 April, over 100 countries have joined the World Health Organisation’s, Solidarity Trial to evaluate therapeutics for COVID-19. The trial will compare four treatment options against local standard of care, to assess their relative effectiveness against COVID-19.

By enrolling patients in multiple countries, the Solidarity Trial aims to rapidly discover whether any of the drugs slow disease progression or improve survival.

WHO warns against the premature lifting of lockdowns

 

The World Health Organsiation (WHO) has recently published an updated strategy to help guide the public health response to COVID-19 which is available here.

The update sets out key criteria and considerations for countries that are considering lifting some of the widespread restrictions on movement, often termed “lockdowns”, that have been used to suppress the spread of COVID-19 through communities.

More than 2.5 million coronavirus infections reported globally

 

Globally, coronavirus cases have topped 2.5million spread across 185 countries, with North America accounting for one-third of all cases.

Coronavirus deaths in the United States have topped 45,000 — doubling in a little over a week as cases climbed to over 800,000. The US Government has now temporarily suspended immigration.

Almost 700,000 people around the world have recovered from the virus.

 

21 April 2020

Please find below our latest summary of  local and global coronavirus developments.  It’s only been a few days since our last update, but already there is much to talk about.

I’d like to invite you also to our next Industry Webinar, which will take place this Friday 24 April at 9am.

It’s a little earlier this week, to enable Sally Cope, Tourism Australia’s Regional General Manager of the United Kingdom and Northern Europe, to join us and offer her perspective on developments in the UK and EU.

We will also be starting to discuss more and more different perspectives on what the future will look like post coronavirus for Australia and the tourism sector, based on what insights are already out there. That is overwhelmingly the biggest question we keep getting asked, and I will confirm tomorrow who our guests will be as we kick off this discussion.  We do hope you can join us, so click here to register.

AUSTRALIA

Record low number of coronavirus cases recorded across Australia

 

In the past 24 hours Queensland and the ACT have reported no new coronavirus cases and New South Wales has recorded just six infections, its fewest in five weeks. Just one new case has been confirmed in Victoria. The total number of cases reported over the last 7 days was 290, which is down from the 578 reported in the week prior. These numbers indicate a steady national decline over the last fortnight.

State and Territory Leaders have stressed that complacency must be avoided.

National Cabinet is expected to meet tomorrow to discuss pre-requisites for easing social distancing restrictions when the time is right.

 

State Governments fight to bailout Virgin

 

Both the Queensland and NSW State Governments are in discussions with airline Virgin Australia over possible bailout packages, but both say any bailout is contingent upon Virgin being headquartered in their State.

The Queensland Government has today warned it will fight any attempt by New South Wales to move Virgin Australia from Queensland to Sydney.

Sydney Airport borrows $850 million

 

According to media reports, Sydney Airport has raised $850 million in fresh short-term debt to increase liquidity and see it through the coronavirus pandemic. Analysts say the loan will remove the risk of any equity raising.

$100 million boost for regional NSW projects

 

More than $100 million will be spent helping drought, bushfire and virus-impacted NSW regions get back on their feet, with infrastructure projects fast-tracked and the largest ever regrowth of the Forestry Corporation's estate.

$14 million boost to assist small businesses across NSW

 

The NSW Government has today announced a $14 million cash injection to its small business advisory program, Business Connect. As part of the funding boost, $4.6 million has been allocated to engage an additional 30 advisors, on top of $9.8 million to ensure the program continues for another 12 months.

ACT Government announces ‘Jobs for Canberrans Fund

The Jobs for Canberrans Fund will provide work opportunities for people in the casual or semi-skilled workforce who have lost their jobs or have been significantly impacted due to the coronavirus.

Jobs will be available for people who have relied on casual work and who are not eligible for the Australian Government’s wage subsidy scheme or other support.

Free legal assistance for South Australians

Legal aid has boosted its free assistance for South Australians hit hard by the coronavirus.

Legal enquiries about the following issues will be addressed as a priority: employment laws; landlord and tenant problems; welfare payments; mortgage stress, credit and debt problems; consumer protection; Wills, Power of Attorney documents, and Advance Care Directives; immigration visas; and elder abuse, family violence, and family law disputes over the care of children.

JobKeeper applications open today

 

Enrolment is now open for the Australian Government's $130 billion JobKeeper Payment scheme. The scheme supports businesses significantly affected by the coronavirus.

The JobKeeper Payment is open to eligible employers, sole traders and other entities to enable them to pay their eligible employees’ salary or wages of at least $1,500 (before tax) per fortnight. More information is available here.

GLOBAL

 

NZ lockdown to lift next week

 

New Zealand’s Prime Minister has this afternoon announced that the country will move to
Level 3 of lockdown from 11.59pm next Monday, April 27.

Alert Level 3 will be held for two weeks and then Cabinet will assess whether to move down another level.

Level 4 had originally been scheduled to lift on Thursday this week.

Under the new Level 3 Alert children, at-risk students and staff have been advised to stay at home. Businesses will also be allowed to get ready to open this week but must maintain social distancing.

EU bears the burden of half the world’s coronavirus cases

 

In the past fortnight, the number of coronavirus cases reported in Europe has more than doubled to over 1 million, or about 50% of infections globally.

Outside the EU, the USA has the highest number of infections with over 750,000 confirmed cases. Deaths in the country are now in excess of 40,000.

Wuhan revises death toll

 

Wuhan on Friday revised upward its official death toll from the coronavirus outbreak by 50%, citing missed deaths at the start of the outbreak.

Authorities in the city of 11 million people, where the virus was first detected, added 1,290 deaths, bringing the total to 3,869 according to a notice from Wuhan’s disease-control task force published on the website of the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

 

17 April 2020

AUSTRALIA

Australian coronavirus restrictions to remain in place at least another 4 weeks

 

National Cabinet met yesterday to review social distancing measures and plan the pathway out of lockdown. Federal, State and Territory Leaders thanked Australians for staying home where possible over the Easter long weekend and stressed the critical importance of continuing to adhere to self-isolation, social distancing and quarantine arrangements, particularly for returned travellers. While it was agreed that Australia is doing well compared to other countries, restrictions are expected to remain in place for at least the next month. Leaders will meet again on Tuesday 21 April 2020.

Federal Government backs regional domestic flights 

Qantas and Virgin Australia Groups will operate a minimum domestic network servicing the most critical metropolitan and regional routes in Australia thanks to a significant investment from the Federal Government of up to an initial $165 million. Underwriting the cost of the network, which includes all state and territory capital cities and major regional centres, comes in addition to the more than $1 billion of Federal Government support for Australia’s aviation industry in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Employers need to get ready for Jobkeeper now

 

The new JobKeeper Payment has passed through parliament and the Australian Taxation Office is working to assist businesses to access the scheme, helping them to retain their employees. The program will be administered by the ATO and will involve employers checking that they are eligible and then enrolling with the ATO to be paid the JobKeeper Payments.

Employers will receive a monthly payment for each eligible employee who was paid by the business during the previous month. Employers need to take steps now to be eligible for the first round of JobKeeper Payments which will be paid from the first week of May 2020. For more information visit the ATO website here.

GLOBAL

Trump announces plans to ‘Open Up America’

 

The US Government has issued new guidelines which give State Governors license to ease coronavirus social-distancing measures for areas where the coronavirus is on the decline as early as May 1. The Opening Up America Again Guidelines say states or regions should meet certain criteria before moving to a phased opening; including a downward trajectory of documented coronavirus cases within a 14-day period and a robust testing program in place for at-risk healthcare workers, according to the guidelines. The Guidelines recommend that bars remain closed as part of phase one. However, theatres, sporting venues and churches could open "under strict physical-distancing protocols".

European countries begin to ease coronavirus restrictions

 

As of next week, small shops of a certain size in Germany will be allowed to open for the first time in a month. Strict social distancing rules will remain in place. Italy, which has the second highest coronavirus death toll after the US, has allowed bookstores, stationery shops and children’s clothing shops to reopen, and allowed forestry-related work to resume.

After one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns, some Spanish businesses, including construction and manufacturing, have been allowed to resume this week. Shops, bars and public spaces are to stay closed until at least April 26. Thousands of shops across Austria reopened after the Easter long weekend. Large shops will open by May 1.

UK extends coronavirus lockdown

 

The UK has extended its strict coronavirus measures for at least another three weeks. Foreign Minister, Dominic Raab has said there was no timeframe for lifting the lockdown, which restricts citizens from non-essential travel except to shop for groceries and medical goods, as well as exercise once per day.

Japan declares nationwide state of emergency

 

A nationwide state of emergency has been declared in Japan due to the country’s worsening coronavirus outbreak. The move allows all regional governments to urge people to stay inside, but without punitive measures or legal force. The state of emergency will remain in force until 6 May. Prime Minister Abe had previously declared a month-long state of emergency in seven regions.

 

 

16 April 2020

AUSTRALIA

Sign up for our weekly webinar

We will be hosting our next webinar this Friday 17 April from 11-12 noon to discuss the current situation in Australia regarding the coronavirus, activity in the USA; and share some pointers regarding social media and marketing during the crisis.

 

This week’s guests are:

 

  1. Dr Nick Coatsworth, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Australia
  2. Philippa Harrison, Managing Director, Tourism Australia
  3. Jane Whitehead, Regional General Manager Americas, Tourism Australia
  4. Susan Coghill, Tourism Australia’s Chief Marketing Officer and Anita Godbeer, GM -  PR, Social, Content & Consumer Marketing

Registration

Please register here for this week’s call.

 

Q & A – submit questions in advance

If you have a question for our speakers, please submit them in advance when you register.

Australians could limit lockdown with government tracking

 

According to the ABC, the Federal Government believes community restrictions might ease in the months ahead if Australians choose to sign-up to a mobile tracking app.

 

Financial support to help Australian exporters bounce back

 

Australian exporters impacted by the COVID-19 crisis will now have access to business-saving loans between $250,000 and $50 million under a new $500 million capital facility to be administered by Export Finance Australia.

The new COVID-19 Export Capital Facility will target loans to established and previously profitable exporters who, due to COVID-19, are unable to gain finance from commercial sources.

Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said the COVID-19 Export Capital Facility would help trade-exposed businesses, including those from regional Australia and businesses in the tourism and education sectors, to get through this crisis and get to the other side.

Lifeline for regional aviation to help them deal with COVID-19

The Australian Government will provide $300 million to help regional airlines and communities.

The package includes $100 million to underwrite some regional airlines.

Regional airlines have warned they cannot afford to operate under restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

GLOBAL

Close to 2 million coronavirus cases reported globally

Almost two million people are now confirmed to have the coronavirus globally. The USA is still the world-leader in infected people.

Trump halts funding to the WHO

 

US President Trump has blamed the WHO for the coronavirus pandemic and has halted all funding to the global health organisation.

France to gradually lift lockdown measures from 11 May

France's President Emanuel Macron said on Monday that some businesses can look forward to reopening on May 11, when he hopes to slowly restart the country's economy for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak began.

Spain eases restrictions for some businesses

Some Spanish companies will resume operations on Monday, at the end of a two-week halt to all non-essential activity.

“I want to be very clear: we are not entering a phase of de-escalation,” the Spanish Prime Minister, Sánchez said. “The state of emergency is still in force and so is the lockdown. The only thing that has come to an end is the two-week extreme economic hibernation period.”

 

Imported China cases rise

China has seen a rise in Covid-19 cases along its northern border with Russia.

On Sunday China’s national health commission reported 108 new infections, the highest number in more than five weeks, surpassing Saturday’s 99, which was nearly double the 46 reported on Friday.

All but 10 of the cases were imported, and seven of the local infections were in the Heilongjiang province, a northern region where authorities are increasing restrictions and monitoring after a rise in people with Covid-19 crossing the Russian border.

Heilongjiang’s capital, Harbin, as well as the border city of Suifenhe – which is under some Wuhan-style restrictions - now require all arrivals to quarantine for 28 days and undergo testing. Under the new restrictions, residential units in Harbin – where people have been confirmed to have the virus, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic – are to be locked down for 14 days.

 

8 April 2020

JobKeeper passes - Today the Australian Government passed its $130bn JobKeeper wage recovery package to support Australian workers and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic – a much needed boost for our sector. This brings the Government’s total support for the economy in response to the coronavirus to $320 billion. Information about the measures and how you may benefit is set out in more detail below.

Webinar tomorrow - Also as a reminder – to keep up to date with developments our webinar is on tomorrow at 11am.  We will talk about mental health, China and the $billion fund. You can register for the webinar here.

Happy Easter - and keep dreaming!  If you can’t join us tomorrow, I’d like to take the opportunity to wish you all a happy and safe Easter.  Please stay at home and use the time to look after yourself and your loved-ones and, of course dream and plan for your next Australian adventure.

Industry stats

 

Tourism will play an important role in Australia’s economic recovery

 

Australia’s tourism industry demonstrated strong growth in 2019, according to the latest International Visitor Survey and National Visitor Survey data, highlighting the important role tourism will play in the economic recovery when the COVID-19 crisis passes. For more information.

Travel

 

Commercial flights available for some returning passengers

 

On 3 April 2020, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister announced a continuing network of flights to four key international hubs will be established — London, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Auckland — for the next four weeks to help Australians get home by commercial means.

Australia’s borders remain closed to international visitors.

 

Australians reminded to stay at home this Easter

 

The Prime Minister and state and territory leaders have reiterated that Australians must stay at home this Easter and should not undertake unnecessary holiday travel. Western Australia has in place instra-strate checkpoints to prevent regional travel as well as bans on interstate travel. In Queensland, borders are closed to inter-state travellers and a number of Gold Coast beaches have been fenced off. Travel to Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island), Moorgumpin (Moreton Island) and K’gari (Fraser Island) is only permitted by people who live there, work there, or are travelling for other permitted purposes.

For more information visit Australia.gov.au. Restrictions also vary by state, territory and local government so please refer to official government sources for information relevant to your location.

Health

 

Federal Government coronavirus modelling released

 

The Federal Government yesterday released the modelling behind Australia’s Coronavirus response. It shows how the virus could spread through the Australian population under different scenarios but does not predict the future or factually represent Australia’s current position.

Early data suggests physical distancing and other measures taken in Australia are slowing the growth in cases to a point where the health system can meet expected demand. In the two weeks since the Australian Government and states and territories implemented restrictions on international arrivals and put in place strict social distancing measures, the rate at which COVID-19 cases increase on average each day has fallen from just over 22% to around 2%. However, it is too soon to tell whether this trend will be sustained.

 

Stimulus and support

 

In the past weeks, the Australian Government has announced numerous measures to stimulate our economy and support businesses in the wake of the coronavirus. States and Territories have also introduced their own stimulus initiatives.  Below is a summary of some of the most recent Federal measures. You should consult official government sources for the latest information including your state, territory and local governments.

$130bn JobKeeper package passed

 

The Australian Parliament convened today to pass the JobKeeper wage recovery package. This brings the Government’s total support for the Australian economy in response to the coronavirus to $320 billion, representing 16.4 per cent of annual GDP. The package includes support for long-term casual employees, and part-time workers. National Cabinet will meet again on 9 April 2020.

Code of conduct for rent relief for small and medium enterprises approved

 

National Cabinet agreed yesterday that states and territories would implement the mandatory Code of Conduct for Commercial Tenancies.  The Rent Relief Policy will include a mutual obligation requirement on the small and medium sized enterprises and not-for-profit tenants to continue to engage their employees through the JobKeeper initiative where eligible, and if applicable, provide rent relief to their subtenants.

Working holiday maker (WHM) visa changes announced

 

People working in critical sectors (aged and disability care, childcare, agriculture and so on) now have more flexibility in their working holiday visas. For those WHM, they will be exempt from the six month work limitation with one employer unless they do not feel confident to sustain themselves for the next six months, in which case they have been advised to make  arrangements to go home. For more information visit here.

Wage subsidies available to small businesses

 

Registrations are open for small businesses, and other eligible employers, to apply for a 50 per cent wage subsidy of their apprentice’s or trainee’s wage from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Read more.

Applications open for Regional Aviation Grants

 

Two support programs aimed at keeping regional airlines afloat are now open for applications:

  • The COVID-19 Regional Airline Network Support Program to support critical air services to connect regional Australia to freight, medical testing, supplies and essential personnel; and
  • The Australian Airline financial relief package to assist the domestic airline industry in response to the economic pressures created by the impact of COVID-19 by reducing operational cost pressures to improve the ability of airlines to maintain services.

Further details are available at grants.gov.au

New job hub launched to help Australians find work

The Australian Government has launched a Jobs Hub website to help Australians find work during the Coronavirus pandemic. The Jobs Hub advertises the latest vacancies from businesses across Australia. Find work here.

 

GLOBAL

 

Travel bans eased and domestic flights resume from Wuhan, China

 

After 11 weeks in lockdown, Chinese authorities are allowing residents of Wuhan, the original epicentre of the coronavirus to once again travel in and out of the city. The city's 11 million residents are now permitted to leave without special authorisation as long as a mandatory smartphone application shows they are healthy and have not been in recent contact with anyone confirmed to have the virus.

City officials, marked the lifting of the lockdown with a light show, social media campaigns led by state media, and special events to celebrate the reopening of airports, stations and factories. China Eastern said it was operating 30 flights from Wuhan to other cities in China, like Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, with more than 1,600 trips booked. More than 55,000 passengers have booked tickets to leave the city, according to the railway operator. Long-distance buses have also resumed service.

Japan declares State of Emergency over coronavirus

 

Japanese Prime Minister Abe yesterday declared a State of Emergency, invoked social distancing measures while announcing a $1 trillion stimulus package.Prime Minister Abe called on people to reduce their contact with others by 70-80% and to work from home and asked companies to stagger shifts for employees who cannot work remotely.

The state of emergency will last until 6 May and initially apply to Tokyo and six other prefectures: Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka. Japan has so far avoided the large number of coronavirus cases and deaths, but there is growing alarm over the rise in infections in the capital, particularly among young people.

Paris bans daytime outdoor exercise to prevent the spread of coronavirus

 

Paris has banned daytime outdoor exercise as the death toll has risen over 10,000. The ban followed a sunny weekend marked by large groups of people running and walking in the city's parks, despite police controls that include fines for violating the lockdown.

 

7 April 2020

This week in our webinar series we have an interesting mix. First up we will talk to Lucy Brogden, Chair of Australia’s National Mental Health Commission to talk about how to best approach mental health in the current environment, then we will hear from Harinder Sidhu from DFAT who is in charge of the Federal Government’s  $1 billion fund, and then I will be providing an update on where things are at for TA with a deep dive into China with Andrew Hogg our Regional General Manager.

The webinar will take place on Thursday at 11am, and an invite will come our tomorrow.

AUSTRALIA

Job Seeker Fact Sheets

Treasury has updated the following Fact Sheets on the JobKeeper payment and Economic Response to the Coronavirus:

- Supporting businesses to retain jobs

- JobKeeper payment - Information for employers

- JobKeeper payment - Information for employees

- JobKeeper payment - Frequently asked questions

Visa extensions for seasonal workers and working holiday makers

The Federal Liberal and Nationals Government is making temporary changes to visa arrangements to help farmers access the workforce they need to secure Australia’s food and produce supply during the coronavirus.  The changes allow those within the Pacific Labour Scheme, Seasonal Worker Program and Working Holiday-makers to continue to work in agriculture and food processing until the coronavirus crisis has passed.

Before moving to other parts of the country, working holiday makers will need to self-isolate for 14 days and register at the Australia.gov.au website.  Those who do not comply will face having their visas cancelled.   For more information.

 

Temporary visa holders with work rights allowed access to super

The Australian Government has announced most temporary visa holders with work rights will be allowed to withdraw up to $10,000 of their Australian superannuation this financial year to help them through the crisis. Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said people on temporary skilled visas who have been stood down, rather than laid off, could have their visas extended under normal arrangements, while businesses could also reduce their hours without breaching conditions. But he said those who have been sacked and are unable to find a new sponsor should leave the country.

 

Australian beaches lockdown due to over-crowding

Queensland’s Gold Coast beaches will close to non-locals from Tuesday night. This follows the complete closure of a number of Australian beaches as a result of beachgoers ignoring social distancing measures. Many of Sydney’s Northern Beaches such as the iconic Manly and Palm Beaches (home to Australian soap export “Home and Away”) are now completely closed even to local swimmer and surfers.

 

Resilience NSW – a new state government agency announced to support NSW recovery

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian today announced the creation of a new NSW Government agency, Resilience NSW, which will drive world-leading disaster preparedness and recovery approach for the NSW community.

“Resilience NSW will lead the whole-of-government prevention, preparedness and recovery effort. It will oversee and coordinate emergency management policy, service delivery and all aspects of disaster recovery at a state, national and international level,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.  “There was never a more important time to make sure that communities devastated by drought, bushfires and now COVID-19 are getting the help they need to rebuild and recover.” 

 

Australian beaches lockdown

Queensland’s Gold Coast beaches will close to non-locals from Tuesday night. This follows the complete closure of a number of Australian beaches as a result of beachgoers ignoring social distancing measures. Many of Sydney’s Northern Beaches such as Manly and Palm Beaches are now completely closed even to local swimmer and surfers.

Melbourne Exhibition Centre closure extended

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) has announced it will keep its doors closed until June 30. MCEC closed last month, initially saying it would reopen in April.

Supermarkets to limit number of customers

Coles and Woolworths have announced they will limit the number of people in stores to ensure physical distancing measures are adhered to in ahead of the busy Easter long weekend rush.

 

3 April 2020

ECONOMIC STIMULUS & SUPPORT

FEDERAL

 

Commercial tenancies

Australia’s National Cabinet today made further progress on the issue of commercial tenancies. They have agreed that a mandatory code of conduct guided by certain principles will be developed and subsequently legislated by State and Territory Governments to apply for tenancies where the tenant is eligible for the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper assistance and is a small- or medium-sized enterprise (less than $50 million turnover).

ACCC releases guidelines on cancellations and refunds for small business

 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (‘ACCC’) has issued guidance to assist small businesses to understand their rights and obligations when issuing refunds in response to the coronavirus under the Australian Consumer Law.

The guide outlines small business rights and obligations relating to issues such as cancelled functions and events, pricing of goods and services, and charging subscription and membership fees when the business is not operating.

Small business can contact the ACCC via their online form.

NEW SOUTH WALES

$10,000 grants for small business struggling to deal with the effects of the coronavirus

The NSW Government has announced that it will put $750 million into the Small Business Support Fund as the centrepiece of a third wave of support measures to keep small businesses afloat. According to the Premier, the new fund is based on scheme rolled-out during the recent NSW bushfires, which provided $42 million to 4200 businesses within the first ten days of launching.

Applications for a small business grant of up to $10,000 will be available through Service NSW within a fortnight and remain open until 1 June 2020. For more information.

This latest move follows two assistance packages from the NSW Government unveiled in the past fortnight; including a $2.3 billion health and economic stimulus package and a package to provide tax relief to businesses,  $1 billion to fund jobs and help for the vulnerable.

NORTHERN TERRITORY

$1 billion boost for Northern Territory Economy

Chief Minister Michael Gunner says support from the Territory Government and the Federal Government will deliver an economic boost of more than $1 billion to the NT over the next six months to help locals get through the coronavirus crisis. NT Government analysis conservatively estimates that the Federal Government’s JobKeeper Payment will: support the jobs and wages of about 45,000 Territory workers; and help 6,800 Territory businesses pay wages and keep workers. This is expected to deliver about $870 million to the pockets of Territory workers over the next six months - more than $33 million a week.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Fee and rent relief for nature-based tourism businesses

The South Australian Government will provide fee and rent relief for nearly 300 nature-based tourism businesses who have been significantly impacted in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Commercial tour operator (CTO) licence fees will be waived for six months from April 1, rents for properties leased on Crown Land will also be waived. The $850,000 fee and rent relief is part of the State Government's $1 billion South Australian economic stimulus package to save local businesses and jobs.

 

QUEENSLAND

$4 billion package to support health, jobs, households and Queensland businesses

The Palaszczuk Government has invested an additional $4 billion in measures to support Queenslanders’ health, their jobs and businesses.

The stimulus package is in addition to recently announced initiatives, including the dedicated small business hotline (1300 654 687) which has seen around 2000 business contacts so far.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

New coronavirus support team to help WA tourism industry

Western Australia Minister for Tourism, Paul Papalia, says a special team has been established at Tourism Western Australia to offer support to members of the tourism industry during the current COVID-19 pandemic. "The Industry Support Team was developed with key industry partners and will offer support and information to WA tourism industry operators from people who understand the tourism industry. The new team includes members of Tourism WA's stakeholder relations, public relations, markets, and destination development groups."

OTHER STATES AND TERRITORIES

Over the past few weeks, other states and territories have also announced their own economic stimulus packages. For further information visit Australia.gov.au

RESTRICTIONS

FEDERAL

Prime Minister Scott Morrison reiterated today that Australians should not be going away for Easter holidays.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Temporary border closures in Western Australia

The Western Government has placed a hard border closure on the State, to further protect the community from the coronavirus pandemic.

Effective from midnight, on Sunday, April 5, people will no longer be able to enter Western Australia without an exemption.

The move, which is expected to last at least a month, comes in addition to measures already introduced to restrict movement and social interaction within Western Australia; including restrictions on intrastate travel and new powers that allow electronic monitoring of persons subject to social isolation. Read more.

QUEENSLAND

Stronger border controls now in place in Queensland

Queensland has closed its borders to non-residents from this morning, subject to some limited exemptions such as freight transport services (who will be required to have a border crossing pass).  The restrictions replace the current arrangements which enable people to cross the border provided they self-quarantine for 14 days.

Queensland closes popular areas in National Parks

The Queensland Government announced yesterday the closure of a number of locations such as picnic areas, toilet facilities, lookouts, popular walking tracks, swimming areas and four-wheel drive beach recreation areas in National Parks across Queensland. This follows the closure of National Park campgrounds last week in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The closure of these areas will start to roll out from 3 April 2020.

A full list of closures is available at https://www.des.qld.gov.au

NEW SOUTH WALES

NSW hopes to lift lockdown measures in 90 days

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, NSW Police Commissioner, Mick Fuller said that he hoped the state’s coronavirus lockdown measures would be lifted in 90 days. At present, NSW residents have been advised to stay at home except for essential daily activities, such as grocery shopping, seeking medical treatment, caring for others or giving blood.

GLOBAL

Global cases of the coronavirus are now in excess of $1m people and the global death toll above 50,000. The USA, Spain, Italy and France have the vast majority of reported cases.

Spain’s death toll has risen to over 10,000 people.

2020 Wimbledon Tennis Championships postponed

Wimbledon tennis tournament has been cancelled for the first time since World War Two because of the coronavirus pandemic.  The tournament was due to be played between 29 June and 12 July.  The 134th Championships will instead be staged from 28 June to 11 July 2021.

Wimbledon is the latest major European summer sporting event to be called off, with Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics postponed for 12 months.

 

1 April 2020

AUSTRALIA

New Funding boost to support Australian exporters and tourism businesses

The Australian Government will inject an extra $49.8 million into the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) program in the 2019-20 financial year, allowing exporters and tourism businesses to get additional reimbursements for costs incurred in marketing their products and services around the world. Federal Trade and Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said the funding boost would provide much needed relief and a timely cash flow injection for exporters and tourism businesses within the scheme who were doing it tough. "We recognise the current COVID-19 crisis is placing immense pressure on Australian exporters and tourism businesses, many of whom felt the earliest and deepest aspects of the economic downturn,".

Further information on the EMDG scheme and how to apply can be found here.

Australian Government launches coronavirus app

Stay up to date with official information and advice about the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. You can check your symptoms and get notified when urgent information and updates are published. Download here.

Tasmanian business support loans open

Tasmania’s Business Support Loan Scheme, provided through the Government’s social and economic stimulus package, is now open for applications through the Business Tasmania website. Interest free loans of between $20,000 and $250,000 have been made available to assist eligible local businesses through this difficult time.

Loans are available for business continuity purposes, such as:

  • The purchase of business plant and equipment;
  • Improving distribution channels and online shopping accessibility;
  • Implementing initiatives to improve the sustainability and viability of the business; and
  • Ensuring essential business continuity is maintained.

Generally, loans will be considered for eligible businesses in Tasmania that operate in the hospitality, tourism and seafood export sectors, as well as related supply chain businesses and those that can demonstrate they have been significantly impacted by the outbreak.

Victoria expands support for healthcare

Victoria’s health system will receive a $1.3 billion injection to quickly establish an extra 4,000 ICU beds as we respond to the coronavirus pandemic and protect Victorian lives

Pop-up testing in Bondi

A pop-up coronavirus clinic at Australia’s Bondi Beach has now opened to deal with a surge in cases in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

GLOBAL

 

New date for the Tokyo Olympics

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics postponed due to the coronavirus will now take place in approximately a year’s time: The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be celebrated from 23 July to 8 August 2021. The Paralympics will be celebrated from 24 August until 5 September 2021. Sending strength and good wishes to all athletes who have been training so hard for this momentus event.

 

31 March 2020

 

AUSTRALIA

 

INDUSTRY STIMULUS

$130 billion for job seekers

The Australian Government will provide a wage subsidy to around 6 million workers who will receive a flat payment of $1,500 per fortnight through their employer, before tax.  The $130 billion payment will help keep Australians in jobs as tackle the significant economic impact from the coronavirus. The payment will be open to eligible businesses that receive a significant financial hit caused by the coronavirus, and will provide the equivalent of around 70 per cent of the national median wage. 

 For workers in the accommodation, hospitality and retail sectors it will equate to a full median replacement wage. The payment will ensure eligible employers and employees stay connected while some businesses move into hibernation.

Relief for regional aviation

New Aviation industry relief package: Additional support for regional aviation was announced on 29 March with a $198 million Regional Air Network Assistance Package, bringing the Government’s total aviation commitment to $1 billion.

PUBLIC HEALTH STIMULUS

 

$1.1 billion public health package to support Australians

Over the weekend the Federal Government unveiled an $1.1 billion package to boost mental health services, domestic violence support, Medicare assistance for people at home and emergency food relief. Further details are outlined below:

Medicare support at home – whole of population telehealth 

To provide continued access to essential primary health services during the coronavirus pandemic, $669 million will be provided to expand Medicare-subsidised telehealth services for all Australians, with extra incentives to GPs and other health practitioners also delivered.

Australians will be able to access support in their own home using their telephone, or video conferencing features like FaceTime to connect with GP services, mental health treatment, chronic disease management, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health assessments, services to people with eating disorders, pregnancy support counselling, services to patients in aged care facilities, children with autism, after-hours consultations and nurse practitioners. 

The GP bulk billing incentive will be doubled for GPs and an incentive payment will be established to ensure practices stay open to provide face to face services where they are essential for patients with conditions that can’t be treated through telehealth. The new arrangements will be in place until 30 September 2020, when they will be reviewed in light of the need to continue the fight against coronavirus. 

Domestic violence support 

An initial $150 million will be provided to support Australians experiencing domestic, family and sexual violence due to the fallout from coronavirus.

The funding will boost programs under the National Plan to reduce Violence against Women and their Children including:

  • Counselling support for families affected by, or at risk of experiencing, domestic and family violence including men’s behaviour change programs which will provide a short, medium and longer term response to support men.
  • 1800RESPECT, the national domestic, family and sexual violence counselling service, which already answers around 160,000 calls a year.
  • Mensline Australia, the national counselling service for men that provides support for emotional health and relationship concerns for men affected by or considering using violence.
  • Trafficked People Program to support particularly vulnerable cohorts such as victims of human trafficking, forced marriage, slavery and slavery-like practices.
  • Support programs for women and children experiencing violence to protect themselves to stay in their homes, or a home of their choice, when it is safe to do so.

A new public communication campaign will roll out to support those experiencing domestic violence over this period and to ensure those affected know where they can seek help. Minister Payne and Minister Ruston will convene a COAG Women’s Safety Council meeting on Monday to discuss with the states and territories how to best deliver this funding to support local responses to this issue.

Mental health support

 

An initial $74 million will be provided to support the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians.

The Government’s digital mental health portal, Head to Health (www.headtohealth.gov.au), will be a single source of authoritative information and guidance on how to maintain good mental health during the coronavirus pandemic and in self-isolation, how to support children and loved ones, and how to access further mental health services and care.

A new national communications campaign, delivered in conjunction with the National Mental Health Commission, will provide information about maintaining mental wellbeing, raise awareness of the signs of when you or a loved one needs to get additional assistance, and where to find further information, support and care. 

$10 million will be provided to create a dedicated coronavirus wellbeing support line, delivered by Beyond Blue, to help people experiencing concern due to a coronavirus diagnosis, or experiencing stress or anxiety due to employment changes, business closure, financial difficulties, family pressures or other challenges. The Government welcomes an additional $5 million contribution from Medibank to Beyond Blue to support this vital initiative.

$14 million will bolster the capacity of mental health support providers who have experienced an unprecedented surge in call volumes with funding increasing their capacity, including $5 million for Lifeline and $2 million for Kids Helpline. The funding will also bolster other existing services, including digital peer-support to people with urgent, severe and complex mental illness who may be experiencing additional distress at this time.

Health workers, who will be at the frontline of the pandemic, will get dedicated mental health support through digital platforms developed to provide advice, social support, assistance in managing stress and anxiety, and more in-depth treatment without having to attend in-person sessions.

To ensure that older Australians in aged care are not socially isolated despite visiting restrictions, $10 million will be provided to the Community Visitors Scheme. The funding will mean extra staff to train volunteer visitors, who will connect with older people in aged care online and by phone, and assist older Australians keep in touch with the community and loved ones.

To help younger Australians stay on track in their education and training and prepare them for the workforce, $6.75 million will be provided to deliver the headspace digital work and study service and eheadspace. Mentors and headspace vocational specialists working in an integrated team will offer technical and life skills, providing a comprehensive digital support service for all young Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic and after. 

For Indigenous Australians, whose elders and communities are particularly vulnerable to the impacts coronavirus, Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia will develop culturally appropriate mental health and wellbeing resources. These will be available and easily accessible across a range of platforms, including print, podcast, NITV, Indigenous print media and internet/social media platforms.

$28.3 million will be utilised to continue to deliver psychosocial support to Commonwealth community mental health clients for a further 12 months. This will allow additional time for people with severe and complex mental illness to complete their applications and testing for support under the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Relief services for vulnerable Australians

An additional $200 million will be provided to support charities and other community organisations which provide emergency and food relief as demand surges as a result of coronavirus.

Given the unprecedented nature of the situation, emergency relief services are being heavily relied upon and this demand will increase.

The Community Support Package will provide flexible funding to boost support to services where demand is quickly increasing, including:

  • Emergency Relief which will help vulnerable Australians who need assistance with bills, food, clothing or petrol and increase and retain workforce capacity including volunteers.
  • Assistance for food relief organisations to source additional food and transport for emergency relief service providers, and rebuild workforce capacity.
  • Immediately scale-up services through the National Debt Helpline — which is often the first point of contact for people experiencing financial difficulties, and to support one-on-one tele-financial counselling.
  • Creating a short-form Financial Counselling course through Financial Counselling Australia to train new financial counsellors to boost the workforce, potentially providing hundreds of new jobs.
  • Expanding access to safe, affordable financial products through the No Interest Loan Scheme which provides an immediate financial relief alternative to other high-risk, high-interest products such as credit cards and payday loans.

 

CURRENT STATUS

 

Early signs that Australia’s coronavirus curve may be flattening

 

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison told a Sunday news conference the rate of increase in cases had fallen to about 13-15% a day over the last few days, compared with 25-30% a day this time last week.

Health Minister Greg Hunt highlighted these numbers as “positive early signs of flattening of the curve”.

Hunt said there was much more work to do, but by people isolating and social distancing, “Australians are rising magnificently to this challenge”.

More than 4000 people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in Australia.  Over 214,000 Australians have been tested.

 

Self-isolation required in hotels or other designated facilities now in place

Since midnight 28 March, all passengers arriving in Australia are now required to self-isolate in a designated facility (such as a hotel) for 14 days. Cruise ships from foreign ports continue to be temporarily banned from arriving at Australian ports.

NEW SOCIAL DISTANCING RESTRICTIONS

On 29 March the National Cabinet agreed to limit most indoor and outdoor non-essential gatherings to 2 people. The decision comes in addition to earlier recommendations to prevent many venues opening to the public including pubs, cinemas, gyms and food courts. Exemptions remain for essential gatherings as dictated by States and Territories.

Federal restrictions are outlined below:

Indoor and Outdoor Public gatherings

National Cabinet agreed to limit both indoor and outdoor gatherings to two persons only. 

Exceptions to this limit include:

  • People of the same household going out together;
  • Funerals - a maximum of 10 people; 
  • Wedding - a maximum of 5 people;
  • Family units. 

Individual states and territories may choose to mandate and/or enforce this requirement.  So far, Tasmania, Victoria and NSW have mandated these requirements.

National Cabinet’s strong guidance to all Australians is to stay home unless for:

  • shopping for what you need - food and necessary supplies;
  • medical or health care needs, including compassionate requirements;
  • exercise in compliance with the public gathering requirements;
  • work and study if you can’t work or learn remotely.

National Cabinet agreed that playgrounds, skate parks and outside gyms in public places will be closed. Bootcamps will be reduced to two persons, including the trainer. 

These measures will be in place from midnight tomorrow night. 

Indoor and Outdoor Public gatherings

 

National Cabinet agreed to limit both indoor and outdoor gatherings to two persons only. 

Exceptions to this limit include:

  • People of the same household going out together;
  • Funerals - a maximum of 10 people; 
  • Wedding - a maximum of 5 people;
  • Family units. 

Individual states and territories may choose to mandate and/or enforce this requirement. 

National Cabinet’s strong guidance to all Australians is to stay home unless for:

  • shopping for what you need - food and necessary supplies;
  • medical or health care needs, including compassionate requirements;
  • exercise in compliance with the public gathering requirements;
  • work and study if you can’t work or learn remotely.

National Cabinet agreed that playgrounds, skate parks and outside gyms in public places will be closed. Bootcamps will be reduced to two persons, including the trainer. 

These measures will be in place from midnight 30 March. 

  • commercial property owners should ensure that any benefits received in respect of their properties should also benefit their tenants in proportion to the economic impact caused by coronavirus;
  • landlords and tenants not significantly affected by coronavirus are expected to honour their lease and rental agreements; and
  • cost-sharing or deferral of losses between landlords and tenants, with Commonwealth, state and territory governments, local government and financial institutions to consider mechanisms to provide assistance.

National Cabinet will meet again on this evening.

GLOBAL

                                                    

China temporarily closes borders to foreign visitors

China has temporarily closed its borders to most foreigners amid fears of imported cases causing a second outbreak in the country where the infection was first detected.

Anyone wishing to enter the country will have to apply for a new visa at their local Chinese embassy or consulate.

The decision to effectively seal off the country to foreigners is the latest in a series of moves intended to safeguard against infection from international travel, after more than 500 imported cases of the coronavirus were confirmed.

Beijing city authorities have announced that all international arrivals will be quarantined and tested for the virus at designated government facilities. Other cities have implemented stringent home quarantine requirements on international arrivals.

US measures extended

Despite last week calling for an end to coronavirus restrictions by Easter, President Trump has today extended the country’s measures for an additional 30 days.

The new restrictions take account of the rapid spread of the coronavirus in the United States.

25 March 2020

 

AUSTRALIA                                                      

RESTRICTIONS 

National Cabinet agrees new controls to isolate returning travellers 

Australian governments met today as the National Cabinet to take further action to slow the spread of coronavirus to save lives, and to save livelihoods. 

The Cabinet noted that, substantial numbers of returned travellers and small community outbreaks associated with travellers continue to contribute most of the significant further growth in the coronavirus cases in Australia. 

National Cabinet agreed to take action to further restrict the movement of incoming travellers and to increase compliance checks on travellers who are already undertaking their mandatory self-isolation period at home.  

National Cabinet agreed that: 

  • As soon as possible, but no later than 11:59pm Saturday 28 March 2020, all travellers arriving in Australia will be required to undertake their mandatory 14 day self-isolation at designated facilities (for example, a hotel).
  • Travellers will be transported directly to designated facilities after appropriate immigration, customs and enhanced health checks.
  • Designated facilities will be determined by the relevant state or territory government and will ordinarily be in the city of entry where the traveller has cleared immigration, but facilities in other areas may be used if required.
  • These requirements will be implemented under state and territory legislation and will be enforced by state and territory governments, with the support of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the Australian Border Force (ABF) where necessary.
  • The Commonwealth will provide support through the ABF and ADF for these arrangements across Australia, and that states and territories would meet the costs and determine any contributions required for travellers arriving within their jurisdictions.
  • Air and maritime crews will be required to continue to undertake the existing precautions they are following where they self-isolate in their accommodation if they enter Australia until their next work voyage.
  • The Australian Defence Force will begin assisting state and territory governments to undertake quarantine compliance checks of those who are required to be in mandatory isolation after returning from overseas.
  • ADF personnel will bolster local police efforts in visiting the homes and residences of Australians who are in mandatory isolation as directed by state and territory governments and will report to the local police whether the identified individual was at the residence.

Changes to restrictions on hairdressers and funerals 

Yesterday the Federal Government announced changes to social distancing measures announced on Wednesday. 

Hairdresser time limit scrapped 

The Federal Government yesterday lifted its restrictions on hairdressers and barbers, scrapping the rule that haircuts needed to be less than 30 minutes. 

The 4m2 rule must be strictly observed. 

Funeral restrictions eased (very by state) 

States and Territories have also been given the power to allow more than 10 people to attend funerals in hardship cases. 

ECONOMIC STIMULUS & SUPPORT 

 

Second NSW stimulus package released 

The NSW Government today released the second stage of its economic package aimed at keeping people in jobs, helping businesses and supporting our most vulnerable in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Key elements of the NSW COVID-19 stage two package include: The creation of a $1 billion Working for NSW fund to sustain business, create new jobs and retrain employees; Deferral of payroll tax for business with payrolls over $10 million for six months (up to $4 billion deferred); Deferral of gaming tax for clubs, pubs and hotels, and lotteries tax for six months, conditional on these funds being used to retain staff; Deferral of the parking space levy for six months and Deferral of rents for six months for commercial tenants with less than 20 employees in all Government-owned properties. 

NSW Government launches coronavirus hotline for business  

NSW workers and businesses are now able to access a range of advice and support on non-health related COVID-19 enquiries via the Service NSW contact centre 13 77 88. 

HEALTH 

Australian cases of coronavirus increasing 

Australia has over 3000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, the majority of which are in NSW and Victoria. Australia has one of the most rigorous testing systems in the world, with more than 180,000 people tested to date.  

More people now eligible for coronavirus testing 

The Federal Government expanded the list of people eligible for coronavirus testing criteria to include testing people with fever or acute respiratory infection in: 

  • all health workers
  • all aged/residential care workers
  • geographically localised areas where there is elevated risk of community transmission as defined by the local public health unit
  • where no community transmission is occurring, high risk settings where there are two or more plausibly-linked cases, for example:
  • aged and residential care
  • rural and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • detention centres/correctional facilities
  • boarding schools
  • military bases (including Navy ships) that have live-in accommodation.

National Cabinet also agreed that testing will be expanded to include hospitalised patients with fever and acute respiratory symptoms of unknown cause, at the discretion of the treating clinician. 

This is the minimum testing criteria. States and territories have the discretion to expand their own criteria for testing if they have capacity. 

GLOBAL 

HEALTH 

 

Global coronavirus spread 

There are now approximately 530,000 cases of the coronavirus confirmed globally, the majority of which are in the USA, Italy and Spain. The USA has now surpassed China as the epicentre of the virus. The number of deaths in both Spain and Italy have surpassed those reported in China. 

RESTRICTIONS 

 

China reduces incoming flights 

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) announced Thursday that in order to “hold back” potential imports of Covid-19 from outside the country, it will be drastically cutting back the number of international flights starting Sunday. 

According to a translation of the CAAC statement posted to its website “each Chinese airline is only allowed to maintain one route to any specific country with no more than one flight per week; each foreign airline is only allowed to maintain one route to China with no more than one weekly flight.” The CAAC told airlines to submit their plans and to not fill airplanes past 75% capacity. Furthermore, airlines are allowed to use passenger aircraft to transport freight, which would not count toward the limit. 

Iran in lockdown 

Iran has banned travel within the country and ordered people to return to their hometowns or face fines. Effective Friday, Iran also prohibited gatherings and closed parks, recreation centres, pools and other places 

Russia shuts down international flights 

According to the Moscow Times, Russia is shutting down all international flights to and from the country in an attempt to mitigate a worsening outbreak. All international flights, with the exception of evacuations of Russian citizens from abroad, will be halted from midnight Friday.  

The Russian Government has also announced that it will shut down restaurants, bars, parks and shops other than grocery stores and pharmacies. 

Finnish government lockdowns its largest region 

The Finnish government has announced that its southern Uusimaa region, which contains its capital Helsinki, will be isolated from the rest of the country via traffic restrictions starting Friday in attempt to slow the spread of the virus from the country’s most populous region to the rest of Finland. 

GLOBAL ECONOMIC STIMULUS MEASURES 

G20 leaders pledge to work together to combat the coronavirus and inject $5 trillion into the global economy. 

Leaders from the Group of 20 nations pledged Thursday to inject $5 trillion into the global economy and do “whatever it takes” to counter the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“We will continue to conduct bold and large-scale fiscal support,” the leaders said. “The magnitude and scope of this response will get the global economy back on its feet and set a strong basis for the protection of jobs and the recovery of growth.” 

Singapore injects more to support local businesses 

Singapore has announced it is earmarking an additional $48.4 billion to support businesses, workers and families amid the ongoing pandemic, The Straits Times reported

It follows an earlier $6.4 billion that the city-state’s government had set aside, for a total of $55 billion or 11% of GDP, in measures, according to the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat. 

US airlines to benefit from Trumps $2 trillion stimulus package 

According to Fortune magazine, “Struggling U.S. airlines would be eligible to receive federal loans and direct cash assistance if they are willing to give an option for an ownership stake to the government. 

The program allocates $25 billion to passenger carriers and $3 billion to airline contractors providing ground staff such as caterers, while cargo haulers would see $4 billion.” 

 

23 March 2020

 

AUSTRALIA

 

Number of Australians infected with coronavirus increasing

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Australia has risen to 2,252, a significant proportion of which have an overseas travel history. More than 1000 of these are in NSW.

Speaking at a press conference last night, Chief Medical Officer, Dr Brendan Murphy stressed that returned travelers must self-isolate as soon as they arrive in Australia.

Over 162,000 Australians have been tested.

 

Further restrictions on travel and non-essential gatherings agreed

Last night the National Cabinet agreed new measures to control the spread of the coronavirus.

On unveiling the enhanced restrictions, Prime Minister Scott Morrison reiterated that Australians must stay at home unless it is “absolutely necessary” to go out.

Cabinet will meet again tonight. A summary of the new controls follows:

 

Ban on Australians travelling overseas

The Government has implemented a ‘do not travel’ ban on Australians travelling overseas under the Biosecurity Act 2015 effective as at midday today.

This will help avoid travellers returning to Australia with coronavirus and the risks of spreading coronavirus to other countries.

Exemptions, will apply to a range of categories of travellers, including for those citizens ordinarily resident overseas, where travel is essential or necessary, where travel is in our national interest, and on compassionate and humanitarian grounds.

 

Further restrictions on non-essential public gatherings

The following facilities were restricted from opening from midday local time 23 March 2020:

  • pubs, registered and licensed clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation)
  • gyms and indoor sporting venues
  • cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos and night clubs
  • restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
  • religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies)

From 12:00am on 26 March, these restrictions will extend to the following facilities:

  • food courts (except for take away and home delivery)
  • auction houses, real estate auctions and open houses
  • personal services ( beauty, nail, tanning, waxing and tattoo salons)
  • Spa and massage parlours, excluding health related services such as physiotherapy
  • amusement parks, arcades and play centres (indoor and outdoor)
  • Strip clubs, brothels and sex on premises venues.
  • galleries, national institutions, historic sites and museums
  • Health clubs, fitness centres, yoga, barre and spin facilities, saunas, bathhouses and wellness centres and swimming pools
  • community facilities such as community halls, libraries and youth centres, RSL and PCYC
  • Gaming and gambling venues
  • Indoor and outdoor markets (excluding food markets). States and territories will make their own announcements about this.

Weddings can be conducted with no more than five people, including the couple, the celebrant and the witnesses. The 4 square metre rule and social distancing must be observed.

Funerals must be limited to no more than 10 people. The 4 square metre rule and social distancing must be observed.

Hairdressers and barbers can continue to operate under strict new rules. The four square metre rule and social distancing must be observed. Clients must also not spend more than 30 minutes inside the premises.

Bootcamps and personal training can be conducted outdoors with no more than 10 people and social distancing observed.

These measures also apply to outdoor spaces associated with the above venues.

Hotels, hostels, bed and breakfast, campsites, caravan parks and boarding houses will be a decision for each state and territory:

  • The Queensland Government has today announced today it will close all camping grounds from 26 March, 2020.
  • Western Australia has decided to keep all of these venues open.

National COVID Commission established to unlock resources and support families, businesses and communities

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, today announced the creation of a new National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC) that will coordinate advice to the Australian Government on actions to anticipate and mitigate the economic and social effects of the global coronavirus pandemic.

The Commission, led by former Fortescue CEO Neville Power, will enable the private sector to work with governments and to approach governments with ideas.

It will ensure the Government receives the most comprehensive advice to meet the challenges ahead to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus and help build a bridge to recovery. This is about working cooperatively across private-to-private and public-to-private networks to unlock resources, break bottlenecks and fix problems so Australian families, businesses and communities are supported through the challenging months ahead.

Parks Australia announces temporary closures

Parks Australia has today announced that the Australian National Botanic Gardens, Booderee, Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Parks will close to visitors and other non-essential travellers for a minimum of two weeks. Following consultation with key stakeholders including traditional owners Parks Australia has determined that the following closures will take effect:

  • Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra, from 5pm Tuesday, 24 March 2020,
  • Booderee National Park, Jervis Bay Territory, from 5pm Wednesday, 25 March 2020; and
  • Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Parks, Northern Territory, from 5pm, Thursday, 26 March 2020.

Overseas airport closures make it harder for Australians to get home

Australians seeking urgent repatriation have been dealt a blow with several airports closing to all foreigners and others as they implement strict restrictions.

This means major airports - including Dubai, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore - will no longer be used for layovers.

With thousands of Australians stranded overseas, already scarce flights home have been further limited.

GLOBAL

 

Global coronavirus cases continue to grow

There are currently in excess of 422,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world. Italy remains the epicentre of the virus with almost 70,000 confirmed cases (compared to China’s 81,000). Over 108,000 people have recovered.

UK, India, New Zealand and South Africa enter full lockdown

The UK entered full lockdown on Monday, joining  other European countries including Italy, France, Spain and Germany. The lockdown requires closure of all nonessential businesses, bans meetings of more than two people and requires people to stay in their homes, except for “very limited” reasons such as trips for food or medicine. People are allowed to travel to and from work if they are “absolutely” unable to work from home, the government said.

On Tuesday night Indian Prime Minister announced a three week nation-wide shutdown. In recent days India has banned international and domestic flights and suspended passenger service on its extensive rail system. The move puts 1.3billion people - nearly one fifth of the world’s population under lockdown.

South Africa will enforce a three-week lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, commencing midnight March 26.

New Zealand will go into lockdown at midnight tonight. All non-essential businesses will close, and people must stay at home for at least four weeks.

Read more about border restrictions around the world here.

 

Trump wants to “open-up” the US by Easter

Speaking at a virtual town hall meeting last night President Trump stated he wanted to “open up” the US by Easter. His announcement came as WHO officials warned that the USA has the potential to overtake Italy as the global epicentre of the coronavirus. Over 50,000 people in the United States are confirmed to be infected.

Tokyo Olympics postponed until 2021

In a joint statement Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach, announced yesterday that the Tokyo Olympics scheduled to take place in July will be postponed. The Games will be postponed to a date “beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody in the Olympic Games and the international community”.

China lifts Wuhan lockdown but tightens quarantine for overseas arrivals

According to media reports, Chinese authorities say they will lift a two-month lockdown in most of Hubei province, where the coronavirus pandemic originated, as the number of cases eases. Hubei has seen almost no new infections for more than a week.

The provincial capital Wuhan, where the virus first appeared and which has been in total lockdown since January 23, will see its travel restrictions lifted on April 8. Wuhan residents will be allowed to leave with a health tracking code.

The risk from overseas infections in China appears to be on the rise prompting tougher screening and quarantine measures in major cities such as Beijing.

China tourist attractions reopen

The latest report conducted by China's largest online travel agency Trip.com Group showed that as of mid-March, more than 1,000 tourist sites had reopened to visitors across the country, of which over 100 were 5A attractions, the country's highest rating for scenic spots.

The  China National Tourism Organisation reports that a total of 115 A-level tourist attractions have reopened to the public by noon in Hubei Province, the most hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak.

A small section of the Great Wall of China  also reopened to visitors on March 24, a sign that life in China is slowly returning to normal following the coronavirus epidemic.

 

23 March 2020

Australian Governments Respond – restrictions & support

Australian Governments have implemented further restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus, while at the same time introducing measures to support jobs, businesses and the economy through the crisis. There’s been a lot to absorb, so at the bottom of this note is quite a lengthy summary.

Government Hotline for more information -  13 28 46

The Federal Government has established an advice hotline for small and medium-sized businesses (13 28 46).

Domestic Travel - avoid non-essential

You will have all seen the announcement for all non- essential travel to be avoided, made in the lead up to the school holidays.

TA’s One Stop Shop for Industry Support – Updated Daily

To help you navigate the change and access any financial support available, we have created a One-Stop-Shop of information on our website.

TA Webinars Every Friday – Invites to come

Now that there is so much information out there as people face a mountain of decisions, and work remotely, we will be starting weekly webinars each Friday. This will start off with information specific to the tourism sector from experts ranging from what support is out there for the Industry, to how to keep marketing and manage social media, and to how to best manage mental health. An invite will come out over the next day.

 

FURTHER RESTICTIONS AND SOCIAL DISTANCING MEASURES

The Prime Minister, state and territory Premiers and Chief Ministers met on 22 March 2020 as the National Cabinet. They agreed to further actions to support social distancing measures already put in place and protect the Australian community from the spread of coronavirus as set out below:

Places of social gathering

National Cabinet agreed to move to more widespread restrictions on social gatherings.

Premiers and Chief Ministers agreed to implement, through state and territory laws, new Stage 1 restrictions on social gatherings, to be reviewed on a monthly basis.

Australians should expect these measures to be in place for at least 6 months.

The following facilities have been restricted from opening from midday local time 23 March 2020:

  • Pubs, registered and licensed clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation)
  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues 
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs
  • Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
  • Religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies).

These measures also apply to outdoor spaces associated with the above venues.

These enhanced measures build on existing measures to slow the virus and save lives:

  • No non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people outside or more than 100 people inside.
  • All non-essential indoor gatherings of less than 100 people must have no more than one person per 4sqm. All Australians should expect their local businesses to be following this rule.
  • Where possible, keep 1.5 metres between yourself and others
  • Avoid non essential travel including all domestic holiday travel.

Premiers and Chief Ministers agreed to consider further Stage 2 restrictions if social distancing measures are not adhered to.

In addition to these new rules States and Territories are also introducing their own reforms.

States and vulnerable communities close borders

In addition to these new rules States and Territories are also introducing their own reforms. In particular, the Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland as well as Hamilton Island, Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands have imposed further border either to respond to bans on non-essential travel or to protect vulnerable communities.

Iconic beaches closed

Over the weekend Sydney beaches stretching from the Eastern Suburbs, including Australia’s iconic Bondi Beach to Palm Beach on the Northern Beaches were closed as the number of people on those beaches exceeded the 500 person rule.

ECONOMIC STIMULUS FOR THOSE AFFECTED BY THE CORONAVIRUS

On 22 March the Australian Government announced a second economic stimulus package to help support those businesses, workers and households affected by coronavirus restrictions. The second package of $66 billion builds on that unveiled last week and brings the Government’s total support at this time to a total of $189 billion. The Government is moving quickly to implement this package. To that end, a package of Bills was introduced into Parliament today  (23 March 2020) designed to support businesses in managing short-term cash flow challenges, provide support to individuals, severely affected communities and regions, and to ensure the continued flow of credit in the Australian economy.

A summary of those measures follows:

 

  1. Support for individuals and households

 

The Government will provide payments to assist lower-income Australians, including pensioners, other social security and veteran income support recipients and eligible concession card holders.

Income support for individuals

Over the next six months, the Government is temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time-limited coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. This will be paid to both existing and new recipients of Jobseeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.

Payments to support households

The Government is providing two separate $750 payments to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. The first payment will be made from 31 March 2020 and the second payment will be made from 13 July 2020.

Temporary early release of superannuation

The Government is allowing individuals affected by the coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. Individuals will not need to pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

Temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown rates

The Government is temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products by 50 per cent for 2019-20 and 2020-21. This measure will benefit retirees with account-based pensions and similar products by reducing the need to sell investment assets to fund minimum drawdown requirements.

Reducing social security deeming rates

On 12 March, the Government announced a 0.5 percentage point reduction in both the upper and lower social security deeming rates. The Government will now reduce these rates by another 0.25 percentage points. 

  1. Support for businesses

Boosting Cash Flow for Employers

The Government is enhancing the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure it announced on 12 March 2020. The Government is providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium-sized businesses, and not-for-profits (NFPs) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000. These payments will help businesses and NFPs with their cash flow so they can keep operating, pay their rent, electricity and other bills and retain staff.

Small and medium-sized business entities with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million and that employ workers are eligible. NFPs, including charities, with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million and that employ workers will now also be eligible. This will support employment at a time where NFPs are facing increasing demand for services.

Under the enhanced scheme, employers will receive a payment equal to 100 per cent of their salary and wages withheld (up from 50 per cent), with the maximum payment being increased from $25,000 to $50,000. In addition, the minimum payment is being increased from $2,000 to $10,000.

An additional payment is also being introduced in the July — October 2020 period. Eligible entities will receive an additional payment equal to the total of all of the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers payments they have received. This means that eligible entities will receive at least $20,000 up to a total of $100,000 under both payments.

Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

The Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and to initiate bankrupt proceedings against an individual as well as temporarily increasing the time companies and individuals have to respond to statutory demands they receive. The package also includes temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent, and providing temporary flexibility in the Corporations Act 2001 to provide targeted relief from provisions of the Act to deal with unforeseen events that arise as a result of the coronavirus health crisis. 

The ATO will tailor solutions for owners or directors of business that are currently struggling due to the coronavirus, including temporary reduction of payments or deferrals, or withholding enforcement actions including Director Penalty Notices and wind-ups.

 

Increasing the instant asset write-off 

The Government is increasing the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanding access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020. In 2017-18 there were more than 360,000 businesses that benefited from the current instant asset write-off, claiming deductions to the value of over $4 billion.

Backing business investment 

The Government is introducing a time-limited 15 month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions. Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million will be able to deduct 50 per cent of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset’s cost.

Supporting apprentices and trainees

The Government is supporting small business to retain their apprentices and trainees. Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer that employs that apprentice. Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee ($7,000 per quarter).

Support for coronavirus-affected regions, communities and airlines

The Government will set aside $1 billion to support regions most significantly affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. These funds will be available to assist during the outbreak and the recovery. In addition, the Government is assisting our airline industry by providing relief from a number of taxes and Government charges estimated to total up to $715 million. 

  1. Supporting the flow of credit 

The Government, the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority have taken coordinated action to ensure the flow of credit in the Australian economy. Timely access to credit is vital for businesses to manage the impacts of the Coronavirus.

Support for immediate cash flow needs for SMEs

Under the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme, the Government will provide a guarantee of 50 per cent to SME lenders to support new short-term unsecured loans to SMEs. The Scheme will guarantee up to $40 billion of new lending. This will provide businesses with funding to meet cash flow needs, by further enhancing lenders’ willingness and ability to provide credit.

Quick and efficient access to credit for small business 

The Government is cutting red tape by providing a temporary exemption from responsible lending obligations for lenders providing credit to existing small business customers. This reform will help small businesses get access to credit quickly and efficiently. 

Reserve Bank of Australia — Supporting the flow and reducing the cost of credit

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) announced a package on 19 March 2020 that will put downward pressure on borrowing costs for households and businesses. This will help mitigate the adverse consequences of the Coronavirus on businesses and support their day-to-day trading operations. The RBA is supporting small businesses as a particular priority. 

The RBA announced a term funding facility for the banking system. Banks will have access to at least $90 billion in funding at a fixed interest rate of 0.25 per cent. This will reinforce the benefits of a lower cash rate by reducing funding costs for banks, which in turn will help reduce interest rates for borrowers. To encourage lending to businesses, the facility offers additional low-cost funding to banks if they expand their business lending, with particular incentives applying to new loans to SMEs.

In addition, the RBA announced a further easing in monetary policy by reducing the cash rate to 0.25 per cent. It is also extending and complementing the interest rate cut by taking active steps to target a 0.25 per cent yield on 3-year Australian Government Securities. 

Support for Non-ADI and smaller ADI lenders in the securitisation market 

The Government is providing the Australian Office of Financial Management (AOFM) with $15 billion to invest in structured finance markets used by smaller lenders, including non-Authorised Deposit-Taking Institutions (non-ADI) and smaller Authorised Deposit-Taking Institutions (ADI). This support will be provided by making direct investments in primary market securitisations by these lenders and in warehouse facilities.

Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority — Ensuring banks are well placed to lend

The Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority has announced temporary changes to its expectations regarding bank capital ratios. The changes will support banks’ lending to customers, particularly if they wish to take advantage of the new facility being offered by the RBA.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For more information on the Australian Government’s Economic Response to the coronavirus visit treasury.gov.au/coronavirus.

STATES AND TERRITORIES

States and Territories have also announced their own support packages.

 

17 March 2020

Update from Tourism NT

COVID-19 UPDATE - ADVICE FOR BUSINESSES
The situation around coronavirus (COVID-19) is rapidly evolving and this information is correct as at 9am, 17 March 2020.

For up-to-date information, go to securent.nt.gov.au

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

Domestic Travel
• There are no restrictions on domestic travel within Australia.

International Travel
• All Australians must reconsider the need for overseas travel.
• All international arrivals into Australia must self-isolate for 14 days and this includes Australian residents.

ADVICE FOR BUSINESS

What should I tell staff?
• Brief all employees on relevant information and procedures.
• Any staff who have travelled internationally or have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 must remain isolated at home.
• More broadly, any staff that are feeling sick should not attend work.
• Workers must advise their employer if they develop symptoms during the isolation period, particularly if they have been in the workplace.

What do I do if a guest or visitor develops symptoms at my business?
• You should ask the guest or visitor to self-isolate and call the COVID-19 hotline - 1800 008 002.
• If they are required to undertake a COVID-19 test, this will be handled by the public health unit via the Northern Territory’s pandemic clinic, health clinic or hospital.
• People who meet the criteria for testing must call ahead on 8922 8044 where they will talk to a skilled clinician to determine if they should attend the pandemic clinic for testing.
• Guests or visitors must remain isolated either at home or in their accommodation venue until public health authorities inform them it is safe to return to usual activities.

Am I able to refuse guests/customers if they appear to be sick?
• You have the right to ask visitors, guests and customers to provide information in advance as to whether they have flu-like symptoms, have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or have travelled internationally in the last 14 days.

How should tourism operators manage cancellations?
• Check your current cancellation policy
• Ensure you’re clear about your refund strategy
• Provide advice for new bookings
• Ask guests/customers to check their insurance policy

For more advice for your business, go to securent.nt.gov.au

BUSINESS SUPPORT

What Australian Government support is available for businesses?
• The Australian Government has announced an economic response totalling $17.6 billion. This includes the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure, providing up to $25,000 back to business, with a minimum payment of $2,000 for eligible businesses.
• Find out more here.

What NT Government support is available for business?
• The Chief Minister has advised a second stimulus package will be announced this week.
• The Northern Territory Government has a range of programs that support local businesses, including those impacted by COVID-19. The Department of Trade, Business and Innovation’s Small Business Champions team are on the ground to meet with businesses and provide support as required. Contact the Small Business Champions team on 1800 193 111.
• The Business Enterprise Centre NT assists businesses in developing sound business strategies to meet their business needs. Practical business advice is provided for free and covers business planning, strategic market development, technology adoption and enhancement, financial management practices, human resource management and business health diagnostics. Contact the Business Enterprise Centre on 1800 229 500.

What tourism support is available for NT businesses?
• Partnering with the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation and the Business Enterprise Centre NT, Tourism NT has developed an intensive business support program for those tourism businesses that are suffering financial hardship due to immediate booking cancellations. This intensive business support program will be provided to relevant tourism businesses through pre-qualified consultants skilled in delivering this type of business support. Find out more here
• To learn more about the Northern Territory Immediate Tourism Resilience Plan please visit here.
• Contact us:
o Top End – Mark Crummy & Eliza Nolan
o Central Australia – Stuart Ord & Nicholas Ruch

For more information on support offered to businesses, go to securent.nt.gov.au

MASS GATHERINGS

Effective Monday 16 March 2020 the Australian Government has advised against all organised, non-essential gatherings above 500 people in an effort to contain and manage the spread of the virus.

There is a dedicated COVID-19 hotline for mass gatherings in the NT – 1800 518 055.

For more information on mass gatherings, go to securent.nt.gov.au

WHO CAN I CALL?

There is a dedicated COVID-19 hotline number for the NT - 1800 008 002.
There is a dedicated COVID-19 hotline for mass gatherings in the NT – 1800 518 055.
If you are in Darwin and need to arrange testing, please call the Public Health Unit on 8922 8044.

For the latest updates, go to securent.nt.gov.au

 

16 March 2020

Update from Tourism Australia

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 

AUSTRALIA

Australia quarantines all international arrivals and temporarily bans cruise ships

 From midnight 15 March, all passengers arriving in Australia will be required to self-isolate at home for 14 days from their arrival. Cruise ships that have docked in international ports will be banned from docking in Australia for the next 30 days.

 Australia bans on non-essential static gatherings

 On the advice of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), the Prime Minister announced further social distancing measures. Social distancing includes ways to stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases. It means less contact between you and other people. From Monday 16 March, non-essential static gatherings of more than 500 people will be banned across all Australian States and Territories. All States and Territories have today passed legislation to implement the ban. Schools, universities, workplaces and public transport are not affected by the ban. Further arrangements are being developed by the AHPPC to protect the most vulnerable of Australia’s population, specifically: aged care and remote communities. Additional restrictions are expected to be decided when Cabinet reconvenes on Tuesday 17 March and announced the following day.

Government establishes Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit

The Australian Government yesterday announced the creation of a new Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit in Treasury to build on existing efforts to support confidence, employment and business continuity.  The role of the Unit will be to engage with peak business groups on systemic issues relating to Coronavirus to ensure these are being addressed by Government.  It will be staffed by experienced officials drawn from agencies across the Australian Public Service and will work closely with the private sector.  It will also be a source of information for business groups on the Australian Government’s response to Coronavirus and the actions that agencies are taking to support business at this difficult time.  This will allow for information to be disseminated quickly and effectively across the business community.  It will work closely with the Chief Medical Officer, the Department of Health and the National Coordination Mechanism in the Department of Home Affairs.  The Unit will be overseen by Dr Gordon de Brouwer, a highly respected and experienced former public servant having held senior roles across Treasury, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and as the Secretary of the Department of the Environment and Energy. 

The Unit has begun operating and works through peak business groups.   If you want to connect into this process, you should get in touch with your relevant industry association in the first instance.

Government launches national coronavirus campaign

 The Federal Government today launched a national campaign to inform all Australians about the coronavirus. The campaign aims to reduce the risk to individuals and families by enabling them to make informed decisions and to take up health recommendations. You can access the campaign materials here.

 Confirmed cases of coronavirus increasing

Confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia are increasing and have reached 298, 134 of which are in NSW. 27 people are reported to have cleared their infections.

 

GLOBAL

 Europe now the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic

On Saturday, the Head of the World Health Organisation declared Europe the ‘epicentre’ of the coronavirus with more cases now reported in Europe each day than in China at its peak. More than 169,000 cases of the virus have been confirmed globally with more than half of these outside China.

 New Zealand imposes mandatory quarantine for international arrivals

From 1am Monday 16 March 2020 all travelers to New Zealand, (including New Zealand citizens or residents) must self-isolate for 14 days. The temporary measures, announced by Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern on Saturday, aimed at reducing New Zealand’s exposure to the coronavirus, do not apply to South Pacific nations. Cruise ships have also been advised that they will be refused entry to New Zealand ports. Speaking at a press conference on Saturday Prime Minister Ardern said that the measures will be reviewed in 15 days.

Trump declares US State of Emergency and extends Europe ban to the UK and Ireland

 On Saturday 14 March, US President Trump declared a national emergency allowing him to activate a national response to the coronavirus and access to USD40billion in disaster-relief funds to address the coronavirus.  In addition, the Europe travel ban was extended to arrivals from the UK and Ireland.  Americans in these countries will be able to come home but will be funneled through specific airports and processed.

 More countries close borders as coronavirus cases rise

The rapid spread of the virus through Europe and increasing death toll continues to have a dramatic impact on travel and freedom of movement globally. A number of governments have announced full or partial plans to close to their borders to foreigners, including the Czech Republic, Norway, Poland, Denmark, Austria, Turkey, Pakistan, Israel, Jordan, India, Cambodia and Hong Kong.

 Beijing mandates 14 day quarantine for all international arrivals

The Beijing municipal government has decreed that all travelers from outside the Chinese mainland, regardless of nationality, will have to stay in designated isolation centres for 14 days upon arriving in the city to prevent people spreading the disease to their families and within their communities.

 California closes restaurants, nightclubs and wineries

The Governor of California has directed the closure of all bars, wineries, nightclubs and brewpubs in the state and called for all seniors age 65 years or older to stay in home isolation to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The directive came on Sunday as it was announced that the virus had killed six people in California, with 335 cases confirmed – now the third largest number of cases in the nation, after Washington and New York.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) members voluntarily suspend travel

Worldwide, individual CLIA cruise lines yesterday announced temporary suspensions of cruise ship operations in response to the coronavirus. These have been enacted in addition to suspensions that apply in specific countries and regions.

 

13 March 2020

Update from Tourism Australia

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 

 AUSTRALIA 

 Prime Minister advises cancellation of mass gatherings and urges Australians not to travel overseas  

Following a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments in Sydney today, Commonwealth, State and Territory governments agreed to provide public advice against holding non-essential, organised public gatherings of more than 500 people from Monday 16th March 2020.   Essential services such as schools, workplaces, hospitals, public transportation, domestic travel and universities as well as public transient places such as shopping centres will not be impacted.  

In addition, travel advice (smartraveller.gov.au) for all Australians travelling overseas has been upgaded to level 3 - ‘reconsider your need for overseas travel at this time.’  Regardless of destination, age or health, Australians are now advised against non-essential overseas travel. 

These recommendations were agreed as a precautionary approach to slow the spread of the coronavirus based on the advice of the Australian Health Protection Principle Committee (AHPPC).  

We’re currently reviewing the implications this announcement has for our program of industry and trade events, including talking to relevant partners. This includes our forthcoming Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) event due to take place in Melbourne in May. We will provide a further update on this shortly and make sure all registered delegates are fully informed of future decisions. 

Read the new advice here

Government health experts advise against a Europe travel ban 

Following a request from the Prime Minister yesterday to review all travel from Europe, the Australian government's top health advisers have told the National Security Committee that they do not recommend putting a travel ban on Europe at this stage. 

Melbourne Grand Prix cancelled 

The event due to go ahead today (without spectators) was later cancelled by F1 bosses following the withdrawal of the McClaren Team, one of whose members tested positive for the coronavirus.   

GLOBAL 

 WHO stresses need to continue containment approach 

At the Member States information session held yesterday, the WHO Director-General reiterated that countries should not give up on stopping the outbreak now that WHO has characterized it as a pandemic, stating “A shift from containment to mitigation would be wrong and dangerous. This is a controllable pandemic”. For detailed information, please see here

Trump implements Europe travel ban 

The President of the United States yesterday announced a ban on foreign travellers from Europe to the USA for a period of 30 days.  

More countries implement coronavirus lockdowns 

France, Ireland and Denmark have this week closed childcare centres, schools and universities and imposed restrictions on large-scale gatherings in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Italy also remains in lockdown as numbers of the virus continue to grow. 

New York Governor closes Broadway 

Public gatherings of 500 people or more are banned in New York starting today following a directive from Governor Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo said the aim is to reduce population density to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.  The ban effectively shuts down Broadway shows, and other large performance venues, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, which announced on its website that all performances are cancelled immediately, through March 31st. In addition, venues that seat fewer than 500 people must reduce their capacity by 50 per cent. 

 India suspends foreign visas 

The Indian government has moved to drastically limit the number of people it allows to enter the country, suspending visas for visitors from all other countries until at least 15 April in effort to limit its exposure to the coronavirus pandemic. Indians nationals have been advised against all non-essential overseas travel. 

 Cruise Lines voluntarily halt operations 

Princess Cruises and Viking Cruises have today announced suspension of their operations until at least 11 May and 30 April respectively in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

BUSHFIRES 

COAG leaders discuss next phase of the bushfire recovery effort 

COAG discussions today also centred on Australia’s bushfire recovery. The following actions were agreed: 

  • To implement a National Bushfire Recovery Plan spanning social, built, natural and economic recovery plans for the most-impacted regions;
  • Review and if necessary update how governments apply the Disaster Funding Arrangements;
  • To consider a report prepared by the CSIRO on climate and disaster resilience and review the investments that governments make in disaster resilience
  • To take immediate action across three streams of risk reduction work:
  • Improving the resilience of the national telecommunications network
  • Asking the Building Ministers’ Forum to consider how to adapt the built environment to future climate and hazard conditions; and
  • Asking the Australian Data and Digital Council, in consultation with the Ministerial Council for Police and Emergency Management to improve national hazard data and intelligence to enable the development of new information products such as a national fire map.

 Read the communique from the meeting is here

 

 

12 March 2020

Update from Tourism Australia

GLOBAL 

World Health Organisation (WHO) declares coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic 

On 11 March the WHO assessed that the coronavirus can be characterised as a pandemic.  

  • · WHO outlined that in the past two weeks, the number of cases of the coronavirus outside China has increased 13-fold, and the number of affected countries has tripled. 
  • · In the days and weeks ahead, WHO expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher.
  • · WHO is deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.

AUSTRALIA 

PM announces $17.6 billion coronavirus stimulus package - $1 billion for tourism 

The Prime Minister has unveiled plans for a $17.6 billion stimulus package to aid Australia’s economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus, $1 billion of which has been set aside to support those regions and communities that have been disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of the Coronavirus, including those heavily reliant on industries such as tourism, agriculture and education. This will include: 

  • · the waiver of fees and charges for tourism businesses that operate in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the waiver of entry fees for Commonwealth National Parks;
  • · additional assistance to help businesses identify alternative export markets or supply chains; and
  • · targeted measures to further promote domestic tourism.  

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is also providing administrative relief for some tax obligations for people affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, on a case-by-case basis. The ATO will set up a temporary shop front in Cairns within the next few weeks with dedicated staff specialising in assisting small business. In addition, it will consider ways to enhance its presence in other significantly affected regions, making it easier for people to apply for relief. The ATO is considering further temporary shop fronts and face-to-face options. 

$2.4 billion of the total package has been earmarked to deal with the health impacts of the coronavirus outbreak including creating a new Medicare item for telehealth services so people can be treated at home. There will also be 100 fever clinics set up around Australia to test those who think they may be sick. 

Government to launch $30million coronavirus public health campaign 

A $30 million public health advertising campaign aimed at the coronavirus will reportedly soon be launched in Australia. 

According to media reports, the Federal Government is finalising the campaign which will outline how to limit the spread of the virus through hygiene measures, what to do if symptoms develop and where to seek help. 

Australia extends travel bans to Italy 

In response to the increasing spread of the coronavirus in Italy, the Australian Government yesterday announced a ban on foreign nationals (with the exception of permanent residents, citizens and their immediate families) who have traveled from or transited through Italy on or after 11 March 2020. 

  • · Foreign nationals who leave Italy (excluding permanent residents) at or after 11 March, will not be allowed to enter Australia until 14 days after they have left or transited through Italy.
  • · Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family will still be able to enter Australia but will be required to self-isolate for 14 days after the date they left Italy

Australia’s current temporary border restrictions to and from Italy, China, Iran and the Republic of Korea have been extended for another week and are due to be reviewed by 21 March. 

BUSHFIRES 

Red tape cut, access easier for bushfire affected small businesses 

The Federal Government announced yesterday a new $10,000 grant and simplified access to existing loans and other services for small businesses impacted by recent bushfires. The newly launched, Bushfire Affected Small Business Rebuild Package’ will ensure small businesses devastated by the recent bushfires receive immediate support tailored to their individual circumstances. The package announced today offers new initiatives to help local economies recover faster and simplifies access to current assistance programs by cutting red tape.

It includes: 

  • · a new $10,000 grant to assist significantly impacted small businesses in selected Local Government Areas (LGAs) get back on their feet and maintain their businesses. To be eligible, businesses must have experienced a 40 per cent drop in revenue over a three-month period, compared to the previous year, as a result of the bushfires;
  • · greater access to concessional loans with fewer documents and fewer security requirements; and
  • · more experienced and trusted business advisers available on the ground working directly with small business owners to help them navigate the challenging road to recovery.

The updated package is being funded by the Commonwealth Government under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. 

Further details are available on the National Bushfire Recovery Agency website  

 

6 March 2020

Update from Tourism Australia

New travel restrictions, updated advice and screening to safeguard Australia from the coronavirus 

Following a meeting of the National Security Committee of Cabinet yesterday (5 March 2020), the Prime Minister announced the introduction of new travel restrictions, updated travel advice and the implementation of new screening measures as part of the Government’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the changing situation internationally.  The measures are part of Australia’s ongoing strategy of containment and minimising risk to the Australian community as detailed in its Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Coronavirus activated last week.  A transcript of the Prime Minister’s press conference explaining the rationale behind the Committee’s decisions can be read here

Advice to tourism operators

Please view this information sheet in relation to the new measures from Australia's Chief Medical Officer.

WHO- no declaration of pandemic – but raised global risk assessment

While the World Health Organisation (WHO) is yet to declare the coronavirus a global pandemic it has raised its global risk assessment to ‘very high’ while stressing the need for countries to act to contain the virus. Speaking at a press conference yesterday, the WHO Director-General stated “This epidemic can be pushed back, but only with a collective, coordinated and comprehensive approach that engages the entire machinery of government. We are calling on every country to act with speed, scale and clear-minded determination.” 

Temporary border restrictions for travellers from China and Iran extended  

The Government has extended temporary border restrictions for travellers from China and Iran. These restrictions will be reviewed again by 13 March 2020. 

Temporary border restrictions for travellers from the Republic of Korea  

Yesterday border restrictions for travellers from Korea were increased to the same level as travellers from China and Iran. In particular: 

  • Foreign nationals (excluding permanent residents of Australia) who are in the Republic of Korea will not be allowed to enter Australia for 14 days from the time they have left or transited through the country.
  • Australian citizens will still be able to enter Australia (as will their immediate family members (spouses, legal guardians or dependents only). They will be required to self-isolate at home for 14 days from the date they left the Republic of Korea.

Increased travel advisories for travel to Korea 

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has raised its travel advisory for the Republic of Korea to ‘reconsider your need to travel’ (level 3 of 4) up from ‘exercise a high degree of caution’ (level 2).  The travel advice to the Korean city of Daegu has also been raised to the highest level – ‘do not travel’ due to the significant outbreak of COVID-19 there. 

Additional inbound screening procedures for travellers from Italy 

For arrivals from Italy to Australia, enhanced health screening and temperature testing arrangements are now in place.  Travellers arriving in Australia from Italy, must present for health screening at the border. They are not required to self-isolate unless they are a healthcare or residential aged care worker, in which case they must not attend work for 14 days. 

Coronavirus cases globally and in Australia 

There have been approximately 98,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus (approximately 80,000 of which are in China) and over 3,300 deaths. Close to 54,000 people have recovered from the virus. Australia has reported 60 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 22 patients having made a full recovery.  

In recent days, Australia has recorded its first cases of local transmission of COVID-19 and sadly the death of one person associated with the Diamond Princess cruise ship repatriation flight from Japan to the Northern Territory  as well as an elderly person in an aged care facility. 

Stay informed 

As the coronavirus situation continues to evolve we encourage you to stay up-to-date with the latest information from the relevant authorities.  

More information including FAQs about coronavirus can be found on the Department of Health’s website or Australia.com and travel advisories on DFAT’s Smart Traveller site.  

 

 

5 March 2020

Advice from the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy

Dear tourism industry operators

Following previous correspondence, I am writing to provide further advice regarding the coronavirus disease outbreak (COVID-19).

With more cases emerging in the Republic of Korea and Italy, the Australian Government has extended travel restrictions to people coming from the Republic of Korea, and put in place new checks for people arriving from Italy.

The Government is putting in place a travel ban in relation to the Republic of Korea. The considerable scale of travel from the Republic of Korea, and the number of COVID-19 cases emerging in that country, presents a high risk of transmission here in Australia.

Specifically, as of 5 March 2020:

  • Foreign nationals (excluding permanent residents of Australia) who are in the Republic of Korea on or after 5 March, will not be allowed to enter Australia for 14 days from the time they have left or transited through the Republic of Korea.
  • Australian citizens and permanent residents will still be able to enter Australia, as will their immediate family members (spouses, legal guardians or dependents only). They will be required to self-isolate at home for 14 days from the day they left the Republic of Korea.
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will raise the level of the travel advisory for the Republic of Korea to ‘reconsider your need to travel’ (level 3 of 4) up from ‘exercise a high degree of caution’ (level 2).
  • The level of the travel advice will also be raised to ‘do not travel’ to Daegu (level 4 of 4) because of the significant outbreak of COVID-19 there. People in the Republic of Korea should monitor their health closely and follow the advice of local authorities.

The scale of travel from Italy is much smaller. We are therefore implementing enhanced health screening and temperature testing arrangements to deal with travellers coming from this country. Travel bans in relation to mainland China and Iran will continue, meaning that bans for China, Iran and South Korea will be the same.

These measures are about slowing the transmission of COVID-19 cases into Australia. Outside of Iran, the two other highest risk countries are the Republic of Korea and Italy.

I reiterate that any return traveller from any part of the world, where there's a COVID-19 outbreak, who develops symptoms, should isolate and seek medical attention. We will continue to watch developments.

These changes have not been made lightly and we are very focused on ensuring our advice is proportionate. Our highest priority remains the wellbeing and safety of Australians.

Yours sincerely
Professor Brendan Murphy
Chief Medical Officer

 

 

 

4 March 2020

Update from Tourism Australia

The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread, with almost 93,000 confirmed cases and over 3,100 deaths now reported in 77 countries worldwide.

Chinese carriers restore limited capacity

Air China has advised that they will resume limited (2xweek) flights from Beijing to Sydney and Melbourne and China Southern has reinstated capacity beyond June to Australia on booking platforms.

Australia’s first coronavirus death

Tragically, the coronavirus claimed the life of its first Australian victim on Sunday, 78-year-old James Kwan, after arriving in Western Australia from the contaminated Diamond Princess cruise ship. He was one of 164 Australians being held in isolation in Japan and had arrived in back home last Friday, on board a Royal Flying Doctor Service flight. James was well known to our industry and well loved, having founded one of Perth’s first inbound tour companies, Wel-Travel, in 1988, before handing it on in recent years to his son Edwin.

Despite this very sad development, Australia still has a relatively small number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus and most have had a link to China, Iran or the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Most cases have already recovered or are recovering in isolation.  

No pandemic declared at this stage

At this stage, a pandemic has still not been declared but, as previously advised, the Australian Government has already started preparing for such an occurrence.

Emergency Response Plan for coronavirus activated

Australian Government’s Emergency Response Plan has now been activated, focused on strengthening and boosting Australia’s already world-class health care systems. Tourism Australia is working closely with the Department of Health, Austrade, and the Department of Foreign Affairs to ensure a coordinated response to the coronavirus. The Australian Government’s entry restrictions on foreign nationals who have recently been in mainland China remain in place and continue to be reviewed on a weekly basis.

Global cases exceed 90,000

As at 4 March 2020 over 91,868 cases of COVID-19 have been reported globally, including 3,131  deaths. The majority of cases (80,174) have been reported from mainland China , with more than 8,000 cases reported from 76 countries and regions outside of mainland China.

41 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia

There have now been a total of 41 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia, including the one death reported on Sunday. Of the initial 15 cases all have had an indirect or direct link with Wuhan, China and all have subsequently cleared their infections. A further 10 cases are associated with the Diamond Princess repatriation flight from Japan to the Northern Territory. 10 cases have a direct or indirect travel link to Iran. Four cases are reported to have a recent history of overseas travel to countries including Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, South Korea and Japan. Three cases have been reported in people with no recent history of overseas travel. The likely source of infection for these patients is under investigation.

Travel Advice for Australians

DFAT continues to adjust travel advice as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread globally. Last week we saw the level of travel advice raised for parts of Italy as well as Mongolia and Iran. On Sunday (1 March 2020), the current travel advisory for Iran was further extended, with a travel ban now imposed on foreigners coming to Australia from Iran. As with China, foreign nationals coming from Iran will be forced to spend a fortnight in a third country before being allowed into Australia. Australian citizens and permanent residents will need to isolate themselves for a fortnight after returning from Iran. For up-to-date travel advice, visit the DFAT Smart Traveller website.

Travel Restrictions into Australia

Further travel restrictions into Australia are not being recommended at this stage. To find out more information, refer to the statement issued by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee on 29th February.

Quarantine requirements remain in force

Strict quarantine requirements continue to apply to any travellers (including returning students) who have been in mainland China or been in close contact with someone who is a confirmed case of COVID-19. That is, self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of departure from mainland China or from the date of last contact with a confirmed case.

Updates to follow

Given then unpredictable and fast-moving nature of this issue, we will continue to provide updates, and we will continue to monitor the ongoing situation very closely, following the health advice provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Australia’s Department of Health.

 

 

29 February 2020

Update from Tourism Australia

The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread in a growing number of countries across several continents. We are continuing to monitor the situation very closely, following the health advice provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Australia’s Department of Health. Overnight, ITB has been cancelled.

No pandemic declared at this stage
Over the last few days there has been a lot of speculation about whether the current coronavirus outbreak will be declared a pandemic, and the implications such a move might have for Australia and, specifically, for our industry. At this stage, a pandemic has not been declared. However, the Australian Government is of course heightening its level of preparedness for such an occurrence.

Emergency Response Plan for Coronavirus activated
On Thursday (27 February 2020), the Prime Minister announced the activation of the ‘Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)’. The Australian Government also announced it would extend for a further week (to 7 March 2020) the entry restrictions on foreign nationals who have recently been in mainland China. As at 29 February 2020, a total of 84,117 cases of COVID-19 have been reported globally, including 2,872 deaths. The majority of cases have been reported from mainland China (78,824), with 5,923 cases reported from 55 countries and regions outside of mainland China.

Travel Advice for Australians
Due to a heightened risk of sustained local transmission, DFAT has also raised the level of travel advice for parts of Italy as well as Mongolia and Iran. For up-to-date travel advice, visit the DFAT Smart Traveller website.

Travel Restrictions into Australia
Further travel restrictions into Australia are not being recommended at this stage. To find out more information, refer to the statement issued by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee on 27th February.

Quarantine requirements remain in force
Strict quarantine requirements continue to apply to any travellers (including returning students) who have been in mainland China or been in close contact with someone who is a confirmed case of COVID-19. That is, self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of departure from mainland China or from the date of last contact with a confirmed case.

ITB Berlin Cancelled
Tourism Australia has been advised ITB Berlin 2020 has been cancelled. The organisers Messe Berlin have made the decision due to the increasing spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19 ) following advice from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Health and Federal Ministry of Economics. Further information can be found on the ITB Berlin website here. The current travel advice for Germany is ‘exercise normal safety precautions’ (current at 0600 29 February AEDT). Further details regarding stand partner participation fees will be communicated as soon as possible.

Other travel events
More broadly, we carry out full risk assessments for all our own events as well as those that we routinely attend overseas. Additionally, we seek guidance from relevant health authorities and travel advisories. If any country or event is not deemed safe for attendees, we will not attend. We will continue to monitor other events daily but no other cancellations are planned at this stage.

Updates to follow
Obviously, this is an unpredictable and fast-moving issue. We will continue to take our lead the World Health Organisation and Australia’s Department of Health, and keep you informed as new information comes to hand, or advice is updated.

Please find attached some FAQs on the coronavirus, and you can find specific travel industry factsheet from the Department of Health here.

 

 

27 February 2020

Reminding the world There’s Still Nothing Like Australia

The first phase of a new international campaign rolls out from Monday as we lean heavily into our long-standing and successful global campaign platform, ‘There’s Nothing Like Australia’ (TNLA), by reminding the world that ‘There’s Still Nothing Like Australia’. Since its launch in 2010, Tourism Australia has invested more than $1 billion in TNLA - with international tourism arrivals and spend growing 72% (or an additional 3,936,500 visitors) and 73% (or an additional $19.1 billion) over this period.

Background and rationale – a hard working, tactical, partner-led campaign

This initial phase is hardworking and tactical, deliberately focusing on conversion, and we will follow this up later in the year with a second broader brand campaign. Our number one priority at the moment is to get back into market quickly, re-stimulate demand and drive bookings - with strong, conversion-led activities that can be a step towards filling the vacuum of lost booking caused by the bushfires and coronavirus.

We are harnessing our strongest commercial partnerships and focusing on those key markets where marketing activities can be scaled up and where we feel demand can be re-stimulated quickly. We can’t expect people to book without showing them that Australia is still open for business; and still a safe and welcoming destination. That’s why we plan to double down on a global marketing platform that has a proven record over the last 10 years of driving record-number of international travellers to Australia.

Three Initial stages

The three initial stages of this first phase will be:

  • Partnership-led activity

Strong, partner-led activity starting w/c 24 Feb across our key markets. This initial burst will involve working with well-established airline partners including Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Garuda and Malaysian Airlines; and distribution partners including Trailfinders, Flight Centre, Expedia and Chan Brothers.

  • Utilising ITB 

Utilise the world’s largest travel show ITB in Berlin (4-9 March), as a valuable platform for wide engagement with travel trade, consumers and media from our key markets of Germany, Italy and France as well as our other markets. 

  • New campaign ad to be unveiled at Destination Australia

We are currently filming and we expect to unveil our campaign film at Destination Australia Conference in Adelaide on 12 March. This will be used across most of our international markets.

 

19 February 2020

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-2019) – AUSTRALIA

Australia’s temporary coronavirus border restrictions to be reviewed this week
As you will no doubt have seen, the Prime Minister announced last Thursday that temporary border restrictions introduced to curb the spread of the coronavirus would be extended for another 7 days. The restrictions are due to be reviewed on 21 February 2020.

The following arrangements remain in place:
• Australia will deny entry to anyone who has left or transited through mainland China in the last 14 days, with the exception of Australian citizens, permanent residents, and immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents including spouses, minor dependants and legal guardians.
• Australian citizens who have left or transited through mainland China in the last 14 days must isolate themselves for 14 days from the date of leaving mainland China.
• People who have had close contact with a proven case of novel coronavirus must isolate themselves for 14 days from the date of last contact.

Border restrictions extended to passengers on the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship
Australia’s current coronavirus border restrictions have been extended to passengers on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship which has been quarantined in Japan. Australians on the ship have been offered a voluntary assisted departure flight today. Returning Australians who elect to take the flight will be required to undertake a further 14 day quarantine period at the Howard Springs facility in Darwin. Any other travellers who disembark the Diamond Princess will need to adhere to a 14 day quarantine period prior to travelling to, or transiting Australia.

The following advice is for travellers not on the charter flight:
• If you have disembarked the Diamond Princess you will need to complete a 14 day quarantine period before travelling to Australia.
• If you arrive in Australia and you have not completed the 14 day quarantine requirement since disembarking the Diamond Princess you will be subject to health screening on entry.
• You may be subject to a Human Biosecurity Control Order under the Biosecurity Act 2015 which can include conditions restricting your movement or requiring your isolation.
• Travellers should ensure they complete the 14 day quarantine period to protect the health and wellbeing of Australians, other passengers and airline crew.

More information: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/news-media/current-alerts/novel-coronavirus

Updated government fact sheets for hotel management and staff and hotel guests
See the latest health advice and details on what actions to take (and download and distribute) here.

CORONAVIRUS - GLOBAL

The vast majority of confirmed cases of coronavirus are still in China
Over 73,000 cases of the coronavirus (now referred to as ‘COVID-19’) have been confirmed globally. The majority of these (more than 72,000) are in China. Similarly, while there have been 1,875 deaths reported globally, only five of these have occurred outside China (in Taiwan, France, Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines). Over 13,000 patients have recovered, including 8 of the 15 Australians confirmed to have the virus.

WHO has published key considerations for the repatriation and quarantine of travellers in relation to COVID-19
The document, published on 12 February includes measures to adopt pre-embarkation, on-board aircraft and upon arrival at the point of entry as well guidance for health care workers and other support staff. More information can be found here.

 

 

 

12 February 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Global  

Global death toll from coronavirus surpasses SARS deaths

There are now over 44,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus across 25 countries. While the death toll now stands at over 1000 people (exceeding the 774 deaths from the SARS epidemic in 2003), almost 5000 people have recovered from the virus. The number of countries reporting confirmed cases of the virus outside of China remains at 25. For more information visit this heat map.

 

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) adopts further screening measures

On 7 February, CLIA ocean-going member cruise lines agreed to adopt further enhanced screening measures intended to address the industry’s exposure to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. As follows:

  • CLIA Members are to deny boarding to all persons who have traveled from, visited or transited via airports in China, including Hong Kong and Macau, within 14 days before embarkation. 
  • CLIA Members are to deny boarding to all persons who, within 14 days before embarkation, have had close contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having Coronavirus, or who is currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to Novel Coronavirus.  
  • CLIA Members are to conduct preboarding screening necessary to effect these prevention measures. Enhanced screening and initial medical support are to be provided, as needed, to any persons exhibiting symptoms of suspected coronavirus.

Still no WHO recommendation to restrict international travel

The WHO continues to advise against any restrictions on international travel or trade.

China

 

More than 44,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in China

The death toll from the virus in mainland China has jumped to over 1000. The infection rate is reported at 2% of cases.

Australia

 

No change to number of confirmed cases in Australia

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Australia remains at 15: five cases in Queensland, two in South Australia, four in Victoria and four in New South Wales. An additional 11 Australians on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama have tested positive to the virus and two more are under investigation.

 

Australian coronavirus travel restrictions to be reviewed by 15 February

The Government has committed to a review of the restrictions by 15 February 2020.

BUSHFIRES

$10m grants program launched to assist bushfire affected regions

On 11 February the Government announced the Regional Tourism Bushfire Recovery Grants program (RTBR), a $10 million program drawn from the National Bushfire Recovery Fund.  The program forms part of the Federal Government’s $76 million tourism recovery package to help to protect jobs, small businesses and local economies by helping get tourists travelling to bushfire affected regions. It will have two funding streams which will support events, concerts, festivals and visitor attractions in fire affected regions to assist with recovery efforts and encourage international and domestic visitors to come back to the regions. The second stream will be targeted at the worst affected tourism regions. Austrade will administer the program, which has been developed in consultation with the National Bushfire Recovery Agency. To ensure communities can get access to funds quickly, the first stage of the grants program will focus on grants of up to $30,000, and events up to April 2020 with a streamlined application and assessment process facilitating decisions. Applications will be accepted from Monday 17 February 2020. For further information visit: https://www.austrade.gov.au/Australian/Tourism/Tourism-and-business/Grants/regional-tourism-bushfire-recovery-grants

Tourism Australia collaborating with states and territories on recovery campaigns

We are currently finalising agreements that will see the Federal Government provide state and territory tourism organisations with a significant funding boost to support their marketing efforts to encourage Australians to holiday at home and support the bushfire and coronavirus recovery. TA is providing some funds as part of a dollar for dollar agreement. A number of campaigns have launched or are planned including: