Tourism Accommodation Australia has added its weight to lobby efforts calling for the federal government to extend its JobKeeper program beyond its scheduled September end, calling for an indefinite extension.
The call follows a meeting of its National Board, at which the organisation discussed ongoing low occupancy levels in most capital cities and tourism hotspots. The recent Queen’s Birthday long weekend delivered a boost to regional areas but Sydney and Melbourne were continuing to struggle, TAA said.
TAA National CEO, Michael Johnson, said support was unanimous across the Board for an extension to JobKeeper beyond September, with the lack of crowd access to live sport continuing and major events such as Vivid, live concerts, theatre and other major events all contributing to occupancy levels below 50%. The ongoing closure of the Queensland state border was significantly hampering the recovery of domestic tourism along the eastern coast.
“In our recent joint submission to the Federal Government with the Australian Hotels Association, TAA made clear the need for JobKeeper to be extended if hotels were to retain staff,” Johnson said.
“It is very unlikely hotels will be back to anything like full occupancy by September, particularly with state and international borders closed, no major events or international conferences.
“This puts huge pressure on the accommodation sector to retain staff. An extension is needed to ensure hotels can keep as many of their hardworking staff as possible for as long as possible,” he added.