Peter’s blog: Aussie tourism in for a rough holiday period this year

September 11, 2020

With our economy struggling under multiple lockdowns, and as we grapple with the pandemic’s economic implications, the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia recently undertook a study of Australians’ travel plans over the coming six months into the Christmas period.

Our research found that just over 1 in 10 Australians have travel planned over the holiday period, and more than half said they are unlikely to travel at all in the next six months. Of our 2,000 respondents, three quarters had not made travel bookings, while a whopping 89 percent said they have no plans to travel for the holiday period or were unsure about travelling.

This has certainly caused alarm bells to sound for tourism operators around the country, especially with local economies forced to rely on domestic travel just a year after last summer’s devastating bushfires.

Given borders will be closed to international travellers until at least December 17th, and likely into next year, our small businesses are in for a very challenging summer.

Tourist towns are among Australia’s most hard done by regions economically and are already among some of the country’s most reliant on JobKeeper. Tourism operators, much like the food services sector have been the hardest hit by lockdowns, and were down 39 per cent in the second quarter, according to The Australian’s Adam Creighton.

But what can we do to help them?

Australians need to do their part and take a holiday locally to support small businesses by travelling safely around the country rather than waiting for borders to reopen.

The border situation around Australia is frustrating, but likely to change before Christmas. Hopefully, this means we’ll be able to travel between states to popular tourist destinations.  Whether that’s ‘down south’ to the Margaret River, to the beach down the Mornington Peninsula, or back relaxing in the sun on the Gold Coast. The location doesn’t matter, we live in an amazing country. What’s important is supporting Australian small businesses.

Our small businesses provide jobs, innovation, and some of Australia’s most unique, homegrown experiences, and they’re counting on us to tide them through while they’re doing it tough. We are lucky enough to have so many small businesses around the country and in our proverbial backyard, so there’s no excuse not to make the most of them.

Supporting local small businesses keeps money in the local economy, helping keep locals in work. They also support local clubs and teams, bringing character to where we live. But more than that, small businesses make up 98 per cent of Australian businesses, so by choosing to support local business over the holiday period, you’re helping Australians actually have their Christmas.

I strongly encourage everyone who is able to Go Local First as best as they can – even take a long weekend off with some friends or family and give small tourism operators an early Christmas present.

Just because the borders are closed doesn’t mean the holiday period needs to be spent at home. Get out, go for a trip, and have an amazing time as you GO LOCAL FIRST!

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