Tourism to pay dearly for botched vaccine rollout

 

Queensland's multi-billion dollar tourism sector will have to scrap revival plans and business confidence will take a hit after the federal government abandoned setting targets for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, economists and industry leaders have said.

In a late afternoon address on social media, Prime Minister Scott Morrison doubled down on the government's move to abandon vaccine targets, saying "COVID writes its own rules, you don't get to set the agenda".

He also said Australia's borders would be kept closed "closed for as long as we have to, but only as long as we have to".

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has doubled down on the government's move to abandon vaccine targets. Picture: Julian Andrews
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has doubled down on the government's move to abandon vaccine targets. Picture: Julian Andrews

Economists and tourism industry leaders have warned the lack of a timetable means there is no way to plan for when international borders will reopen, in another major setback for the international tourism market- worth $45bn a year to the Australian economy.

Qantas, which in February pinned its target of resuming international flights to the vaccine rollout October target, has now warned it is "monitoring" recent developments though it has not changed its plans.

The international tourist market, worth $6bn to the Queensland economy in 2019, will be the sector hardest hit by the bedevilled vaccine rollout program.

Tourism sector lead and partner at Deloitte Access Economics Adele Labine-Romain said regions reliant on international tourism- like Cairns and the Gold Coast- are significantly exposed.

 

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and Virgin CEO Jayne Hrdlicka during a press conference at Qantas Hangar 96 at Sydney Airport in Sydney NSW. Picture: Dylan Coker
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and Virgin CEO Jayne Hrdlicka during a press conference at Qantas Hangar 96 at Sydney Airport in Sydney NSW. Picture: Dylan Coker

 

"Every month (of delay) is billions of dollars (for the tourism industry)," she said.

Margy Osmond, chief executive for national peak body Tourism and Transport Forum, said the industry's survival post-JobKeeper was predicated on certainty around state borders and fast, efficient rollout of the vaccine.

"The federal government need to rethink how they support our industry … we will need a replacement for JobKeeper now," she said.

The Australia Institute chief economist Dr Richard Denniss said the decision not to provide a timetable or target for the vaccine rollout meant businesses "have no idea how to plan for the future".

"When you realise how big the tourism industry and foreign student market is, really this is very bad for a wide range of small and large business," he said.

"The fact that there is no target to aim for, means that plans can't even be made.

"There's all sorts of investments that won't take place, without even a glimpse of a timetable."

 

 

 

Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly on Monday said the goal was to have all healthcare, aged care and disability care workers vaccinated by mid-2021.

But he refused to release government projections on how long it will be until all Australian's have their first jab of the vaccine now that the AstraZeneca vaccine was no longer preferred for people aged under 50.

Prof Kelly also refused to say how many doses of the Pfizer vaccine Australia had received so far, only that 40m would have arrived by end-2021.

The latest vaccination data shows a total of 1.17m vaccine doses have been administered in Australia, 109,314 of those by the Queensland-run vaccination program.

Originally published as Tourism to pay dearly for botched vaccine rollout



Teens wow with musical masterpiece created in four days

Premium Content Teens wow with musical masterpiece created in four days

The teens, who didn’t know each other before the bootcamp, combined their singing...

Man in hospital after crashing car into parked boat

Premium Content Man in hospital after crashing car into parked boat

The boat was reportedly on a trailer and off the roadway.

Man busted with knife at busy Rocky service station

Premium Content Man busted with knife at busy Rocky service station

A man has been fined after police found him in possession of Viagra and a knife in...