Australians are being urged to take long domestic holidays in an attempt to help the tourism industry recover from the coronavirus.
The industry has lost $80 billion as a result of crippling state and international borders, according to a new report from Tourism Australia.
There were 7.6 million fewer international arrivals to Australia, 45 million fewer domestic overnight trips, and 84 million fewer day trips compared to 2019.
Australians are being encouraged to domestic destinations like the Karajini National park, WA (pictured above) to assist in recovering $80 billion in losses
The void of international tourists is likely to remain until at least 2022 with experts Australia unlikely to open its border sooner.
Australians unable to travel overseas have since holidayed at home and helped prop up the industry.
The report says the remaining losses could be made up by domestic tourists taking longer trips.
‘If Australians took, on average, slightly longer holidays, we could potentially make up entirely for the loss of international tourism with just domestic travel,’ the report recommended.
The tourism industry was ravaged in 2020, with international and state border closures stopping holiday-goers from visiting places like Bruny Island, Tasmania (pictured above)
‘Australians need to travel more like international tourists – stay longer, spend more, disperse to the regions, enjoy our cities and enjoy the Australian tourism experience’.
Tourism Australia data shows the average Australian takes three overnight holidays, and 10 leisure day trips a year.
If each person added three more overnight trips to that average, losses could be recouped.
The report also said our attitudes whilst holidaying needs to shift to assist the industry.
International travellers spent about $45 billion in 2019.
‘In Australia, we rely on international visitors because they are ‘high-yield’ – meaning that, though we don’t necessarily get a high volume of international travellers, the ones that do come have a significantly above-average level of expenditure,’ the report said.
‘This does make us vulnerable, as Australia’s position as a world-class destination for high-yield travellers is not guaranteed, and if our travel restrictions remain in place beyond those of competitor nations, we are likely to lose market share to other countries.’
If Australians can stay, on average, an extra three nights away on domestic trips in towns such as Bathurst NSW (pictured above), the losses could be recouped
The report found the downturn in the tourism industry has also had direct impacts on workers across the country.
‘One in every eight businesses across the country is in the tourism business, and in total, tourism supported more than a million jobs in 2018-2019. This is equivalent to one out of every 12 jobs in Australia,’ the report read.
The report found Australia’s youth made up a significant number of these workers impacted by the industry grinding to a halt.
‘People aged under 25 comprised approximately 45 per cent of the accommodation and food services workforce in 2019, compared to 15 per cent across all others,’ the report read.