Hundreds of tourism operators will meet with officials from Tourism Australia in Cairns today for urgent talks ahead of the end of the JobKeeper program.
- Tourism Australia’s managing director is in Cairns to hold crisis talks with operators
- The Cairns postcode has some of the nation’s highest numbers of people on the JobKeeper subsidy
Tourism Australia is offering free marketing material to help businesses advertise
The managing director of the country’s peak tourism body, Phillipa Harrison, has flown into the city for this afternoon’s gathering of about 300 business owners and workers from across Far North Queensland.
The talks come ahead of the end of the JobKeeper subsidy on March 28.
The 4870 postcode, which encompasses Cairns, has one of the highest numbers of residents on the wage subsidy in Queensland.
Up to 20,000 people are estimated to be receiving the payment.
Tourism operator Roderic Rees, whose Cairns Adventure Group runs white water rafting companies Foaming Fury and Raging Thunder, will be among those at the meeting.
He said he had already been forced to shed half of his staff after he lost the JobKeeper supplement due to changed criteria that made his workers ineligible.
“Everyone talks about the cliff face coming at the end of JobKeeper and I’m over that cliff face now and it’s terrifying,” Mr Rees said.
“Without JobKeeper there, we can’t ride the peaks and troughs and we can’t give our employees any confidence that they are going to have some sort of sustainable income.”
Free marketing materials
The federal government will halve the price of nearly 800,000 airline tickets as part of a $1.2 billion package aimed at getting more Australians to spend big on domestic holidays and to prop up the aviation sector.
Between April and July, a 50 per cent discount on tickets will be offered for flights to and from 13 regions that normally rely heavily on international visitors, including Cairns.
Tourism Australia will also use today’s meeting to announce a $12 million initiative to create new images of 1,800 tourism experiences from 57 regions across Australia.
The images will be provided to tourism operators for free to use on their social media platforms, brochures and websites.
Managing director Phillipa Harrison said the initiative would help operators continue to advertise at a time when their marketing budgets had significantly shrunk.
“While domestic travel has helped keep many businesses afloat throughout the crisis, our industry will not fully recover until international travellers return,” Ms Harrison said.
“With Australia likely to be slower than others to reopen to international visitors, it is vital our operators are in the best possible position to capture what will be a hyper-competitive global market.”