East Coast Wine Trail

East Coast Wine Trail
East Coast Wine Trail

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Triple whammy of problems a threat to Australia's tourism industry



The tourism industry in Australia could be facing a crisis.

A shortage of staff, a decline in inbound tourist numbers and steep price increases are a triple whammy meaning that Australia is becoming a less attractive place for vacationers.

In Tasmania alone, just this week, one of the state's biggest tourism attractions was closed down - and a fish and chip shop in a seaside resort had to close its doors because it could not find staff.

Global brewing giant Lion announced that Launceston's Boags Brewery visitor centre and brewery tours will shut down from January 31, citing "ongoing challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic".

The tours have consistently been ranked among Launceston's top three visitor attractions and the closure comes at a time when the city has added accommodation capacity.

In Bicheno, meanwhile, Coastal Seafoods said it did not have sufficient staff to operate over the key summer holiday period. Much of the accommodation previously available to casual staff is now used as more lucrative Airbnb accommodation. 

In Sydney, anyone looking for a hotel for Friday night would find precious little for under $250 a night, unless they want to stay in a hostel.

Even worse in Melbourne, with the Australian Open tennis pulling in the crowds. Only a handful of decent options here under $320. 

Official statistics show that in November 2022, arrivals into Australia totalled 1,189,920 - a monthly decrease of 22,930 trips, while departures were 1,177,430 - a monthly increase of 162,610 trips.

That indicates Asian tourism is way down - and that many Australians prefer to spend their money in more affordable destinations like Bali and Thailand, rather than spending their money at home.

"These are the sort of statistics that will make Australian tourism and hotel executives sleep nervously," veteran travel industry public relations operative Peter Hook said on LinkedIn.

"Put simply, Australians are heading out of the country at breakneck speed, but the flow of travellers wanting to say G'day to Australia is decreasing.

"Anecdotal evidence suggests that the outflow has accelerated even faster since these November figures. With little prospect of China travellers returning in large numbers in the near future, we will need more major events and enhanced tourist attractions and activities to keep domestic travellers interested in staying home."

Hook, the principal of Hook Communications, adds: "Many holiday destinations in Australia actually benefited from closed borders because they had a captive market - literally.

"Now, these destinations need to convince domestic tourists that they are still worth visiting, despite the world being open again. Half of my street has voted with their feet and headed overseas these holidays, despite the high airfares."

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