Media Release

Dire data on tourist arrivals – Media Release

Dire data on tourist arrivals shows why Australians need to GO LOCAL FIRST

Official data released today showing the ongoing collapse in visitor arrivals to Australia highlights the challenges for small businesses that serve tourists, Council of Small Businesses Organisations Australia (COSBOA) chief executive Peter Strong said today.

“All Australians can help out these businesses by choosing to shop with local providers, both online and in-store,” Mr Strong said.

COSBOA launched its nationwide “GO LOCAL FIRST” campaign, with the support of the federal government, urging Australians to shop locally whenever they can to support the small businesses in their communities.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics released today showed overseas visitor arrivals in May were 99.5% lower than they were the previous year.

Only 3,440 short-term trips into Australia were recorded in May 2020. This compares with nearly 670,000 in May 2019.

There were only 100 visitors recorded arriving from China in May, previously the biggest source of tourists that would support Australia’s small businesses.

“The unprecedented ongoing weakness in the ABS data today on short-term visitor arrivals to Australia should focus minds on the terrible impact this pandemic has had on the national tourism sector,” Mr Strong said.

“Before the pandemic struck, hundreds of thousands of small businesses around the country relied on a steady stream of tourists coming through the door. The stream hasn’t just slowed to a trickle – the tap has been shut off and taken away.

“Many of these businesses like hotels, restaurants, and retailers are big supporters of their local communities. If they are to survive this, they need local customers.

“That’s why we want all Australians to go local first.

The “GO LOCAL FIRST” campaign was launched last Friday by Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Businesses Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash.

The campaign aims to remind Australians of the vital role small businesses play in communities and encourages spending with them to support the national economic recovery.

There are around 3.5 million small businesses in Australia, and they account for around one-third of all economic activity.

For more information on the campaign or to be part of it, go to

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