News National Tourism sector held hostage by coronavirus border decisions
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Tourism sector held hostage by coronavirus border decisions

The Gold Coast has been hard hit by border restrictions. Photo: Getty
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The tourism industry has warned hundreds of thousands of jobs could be lost under the double whammy of closed borders caused by the coronavirus and the winding back of the JobKeeper wage subsidy.

Treasury is reviewing the JobKeeper scheme, which is due to end in September, while international inbound travel remains suspended and domestic travel is hampered by state border restrictions.

Chief executive of the Tourism and Transport Forum Margy Osmond says 133,000 tourism and hospitality jobs could be lost if the JobKeeper payment is not extended.

The TTF wants the subsidy to continue until March 2021, as the industry loses about $10 billion a month due to coronavirus measures.

“While our state borders are gradually starting to reopen and people have either started to or are making plans to travel, any uptick in domestic tourism will not be sufficient to fill the $4 billion black hole left by the lack of international inbound travel,” she said.

“The seasonal nature of our sector means operators need more time to rebuild their businesses.”

Her warning comes after Australia suffered another extremely weak set of employment figures, with the jobless rate at its highest level in nearly 20 years at 7.1 per cent.

Wineglass Bay
The rugged Wineglass Bay hike in Tasmania. Photo: AAP

Some 830,000 jobs have been reported lost in two months as a result of the lockdown, and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has warned the numbers could get worse before there is any improvement.

The states continue to be at odds over how and when to reopen borders.

South Australia announced on Friday it was throwing open its borders to people coming from Queensland.

Premier Steven Marshall says the change will take effect from midnight on Friday and means anyone coming to SA will no longer be required to spend 14 days in quarantine.

SA has already lifted restrictions on people coming from Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

NSW residents are expected to be allowed in to SA from July 20.

NSW reported seven new cases on Friday, all of whom are travellers in hotel quarantine.

The NSW government will on July 1 lift coronavirus-related guidelines on daily capacity across the public transport network to 1.3 million, up from about 875,000.

Victoria on Friday recorded a third consecutive day of new cases reaching double digits, with 13 announced – only one of them in hotel quarantine.

WA recorded no new cases on Friday, leaving the state with two active cases, both of whom are in hotel quarantine.

But the state has not said when travel restrictions will be loosened.

Queensland is expected to reopen on July 10.

The Northern Territory will reopen its domestic borders on July 17.

jetstar flights cancelled
Jetstar has announced new cheap flights to jumpstart domestic tourism. Picture: AAP

Meanwhile, airlines are gearing up for the opening up of domestic borders, offering discounts to get the industry in the air again.

Jetstar has announced cut-price fares and Qantas will give frequent flyers extra points to get Australians flying as restrictions ease.

Customers of both airlines will also be given more flexibility to change fight dates without being hit with fees.

On the international front, Prime Minister Scott Morrison discussed the pandemic with British leader Boris Johnson on Thursday night.

They committed to coordinate closely on the independent investigation, through the World Health Organisation, into the origins of the outbreak.

– with AAP