Australians itching to travel abroad are being warned that holidays to places like Bali, Hawaii and the Greek Islands probably won’t happen until at least 2021.
In a new survey result, 42 experts and economists have weighed in on the state of Australia’s tourism economy from foreign spend, and also the staggering figure in which we will lose as a result of COVID-19.
In the May instalment of Finder’s RBA Cash Rate Survey – which looks at various aspects of Australia’s economy and is considered one of the biggest of its kind – experts forecast our borders to remain closed for the rest of the year. The decision will, according to the research, leave a $25 billion hole in foreign spending if our borders remain closed for 6 months.
Graham Cooke, insights manager at Finder, said there is a risk that the volume of international travellers won’t return for many years.
“Continuing restrictions are projected to result in millions fewer tourists into 2021 and with it, billions in foregone spending.
“This is a problem for all corners of Australia, with 44 cents of every tourism dollar spent in regional destinations,” Cooke said.
On Sunday, South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said he hoped his state would open up again to tourism in the near future, given the sector contributes more than $8 billion to the state annually and employs almost 40,000 people.
Senator Marshall said his state had done “particularly well” fighting COVID-19, having recorded 11 consecutive days of no new coronavirus cases. Given the positive results, the Premier has given local councils the green light to reopen playgrounds and skate parks and possibly even open popular regions to tourists once again.
But despite the positivity around getting tourists back in to South Australia and spending again, the chances of Australians travelling much further than New Zealand in 2020 is looking more likely.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has suggested border closures could remain in place into 2021, with the exception of New Zealand which could possibly be reopened for trans-Tasman flights.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said with both Australia and New Zealand flattening the curve, he is open to potentially allowing travel across the ditch.
“I can’t see international travel happening any time soon. The only exception, as I have flagged, is potentially with New Zealand, and we have had some good discussions about that,” he said.
Senator Birmingham, however, has encouraged Australians instead to start dreaming of their ideal ‘holiday at home’ to boost local economy, and also keep jobs in place.
“There may be a slightly earlier point in time where it becomes feasible to think about domestic travel again. We’re not there yet but certainly this time is a good time for a bit of dreaming, planning, thinking about the Aussie break that you might take when we finally get to the other side of this,” he said in April.