Hint on when you can travel overseas
Australia's decimated tourism industry will be encouraged to switch focus to domestic visitors hungry for a holiday after months in lockdown.
In a move that suggests the government will take a cautious approach to opening up the borders to international visitors, Tourism Minister Simon Bermingham said new funding in the Budget was aimed at encouraging Aussies to visit tourist attractions in our own backyard, and pour local dollars into our airports, restaurants, shops, and hotels.
International tourism - both inbound and outbound - is expected to remain low until the latter part of 2021 and recover gradually, the Budget papers say.
The Government will devote more than $250 million to a Regional Tourism Recovery Package, which will include $100 million for infrastructure projects that boost regional tourism.
More than $50 million has been earmarked to attract domestic visitors to tourism hot spots heavily reliant on international travellers, such as Tropical North Queensland and Tasmania.
The money will help these regions adapt their products, experiences and marketing to appeal to Australians.
A further $100 million will be invested over two years to support 10 regions hurt by the COVID downturn, including the Snowy Mountains, Kangaroo Island and the Hunter Valley.
Tourism Australia will receive $231.6 million for marketing to entice Aussies to travel domestically and to target international visitors when overseas travel is deemed safe again.
The industry will also get a boost under the COVID-19 recovery fund, with $61.7 million to be invested in heritage upgrades, conservation work and reef building to create more fishing and diving spots.
"As we shift to the next phase of our tourism recovery plan, new Budget measures will further support the sector and jobs by stimulating domestic visitation to our tourism regions and encouraging domestic business travel," Mr Birmingham said.
Tourism, which was worth $152 billion last year, was smashed in 2020 by the double whammy of debilitating bushfires and then coronavirus.
Visitor arrivals were down by more than 98 per cent between April and July, compared to the same period last year.
With one in 13 Australian jobs reliant on tourism, the closure of international borders has had a disproportionately damaging effect on the industry.
The sector employed more than 660,000 Australians before the pandemic, with 315,000 of those in regional areas.
Tourism spend is forecast to fall 40 per cent in 2020-21 after the airline industry's international capacity fell by more than 90 per cent.
Originally published as Hint on when you can travel overseas