Government announces further support for tourism sector, post JobKeeper
Today the government announced a package of measures aimed at assisting the regional tourism sector in its recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The package headlined the half-price airfares to certain regional locations (including Launceston, Devonport and Burnie) for tickets purchased between 1 April and 31 July 2021 for travel up to 30 September 2021.
In addition to the half-price flights, there is specific support for the aviation sector. Measures include underwriting of some domestic flights, direct support to ancillary services and funding for the heightened security screen measures at airports.
A second round of the COVID-19 Consumer Support Travel Program has been announced, although no details are yet available. The first round provided for payments between $5,000 and $100,000 to travel agents and tour arrangement service providers. We’ll post more about this when details are announced.
A six-month extension to the Supporting Australia’s Zoos & Aquariums Program is contained in the package. This program provides funding to eligible zoos, wildlife parks and aquariums. Eligible applicants will be directly contacted by Austrade and applications for the first payment will be open in early April.
Another existing program which has been extended is the Business Events Grants program, which provides funding for up to 50% (to a maximum of $250,000) of costs incurred in pre-approved business events. There’s an initial process to go through to have the event pre-approved and a focus on what the government calls “priority sectors”.
For businesses who have been receiving JobKeeper in the March 2021 quarter (and this extends to businesses in any industry, not just tourism), the government has announced the SME Recovery Loan Scheme, which is intended to provide eligible businesses with easier access to loan finance from financial institutions. The scheme will be backed by an 80% guarantee from the government and will offer borrowers a repayment holiday of up to 24 months.
Links to government information on each of the above measures:
Assistance to the Aviation Sector – Tourism Aviation Network Support Program (TANS) (infrastructure.gov.au) (Half-price domestic flights)
Aviation (infrastructure.gov.au) (general aviation assistance)
COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program – Austrade (Travel agents)
Supporting Australia’s Exhibiting Zoos and Aquariums Program – Austrade
Business events – Grants Program – Austrade
SME Recovery Loan Scheme | Treasury.gov.au