Media Release

Job losses in tourism sector – Media Release



Data that shows almost 22,000 jobs were shed in Australia’s tourism industry in the March quarter compared to the previous year is a stark warning on the scale of destruction facing the sector in 2020, the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) said today.

Analysis by the Australian Bureau of Statistics released today captures the impact of the December 2019 and January 2020 bushfires, and the beginning of international travel restrictions and lockdowns associated with COVID-19.

The number of filled tourism jobs in Australia fell by 21,900 from March 2019 to March 2020 while the whole economy added 243,900 jobs in that time.

COSBOA chief executive Peter Strong said the job losses showed the Australian tourism sector was already under enormous pressure at the start of 2020 and Australians should urgently consider how they can spend with and support local businesses in tourist areas to help them survive.

“This is a period of enormous upheaval for Australian tourism businesses. Many of them are small businesses that relied on a steady stream of visitors coming through that has now been stopped dead for months,” Mr Strong said.

The ABS analysis found that filled jobs in accommodation services fell 11,600, or 12.4 per cent, from the March quarter 2019 to the March quarter of 2020. Filled jobs in cafés, restaurants and takeaway food services fell 4,700 and sports and recreation services fell 4,500.

New lockdowns in Victoria and state border restrictions meant the tourism industry, which employs 700,000 people, is facing a lengthy period of uncertainty.

“This new data shows tourism operators are doing it tough right now. With the new border closures, it’ll mean those interstate tourists who would’ve visited Queensland, rather than going overseas will now not be able to come.

That means it’s so important for locals to choose to GO LOCAL FIRST, to support local operators get through this tough time.

“Local tourism operators bring people in, show visitors how incredible Queensland is and employ locals. They desperately need people to GO LOCAL FIRST, and check out their backyard to support local operators.”

“By taking holidays in your state, it’ll mean tourism operators are still around after the pandemic to show interstate and international visitors this beautiful part of the world.

“Lockdowns and border closures have an enormous impact on small businesses, which are at the heart of our communities

“Even beyond tourism, whether it’s for food or clothing, homewares or personal accessories, or cafes and restaurants, we urge people to GO LOCAL FIRST.

“Spending with local businesses, in-store or online, gives them a better chance of getting through this difficult time and being there to serve their communities in future.”

COSBOA is running a six-month campaign with funding support from the Morrison government urging Australians to GO LOCAL FIRST and shop with small, local businesses both in-store, and online.

Find out more about the campaign by searching “Go Local First”, checking out the #golocalfirst hashtag on social media, or visiting

 The ABS data release is available here:


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