Youth Tourism Sector issues under COVID-19
Dear Minister Birmingham,
I am writing to you as a representative of BYTAP (Backpacker and Youth Tourism Advisory Panel). BYTAP was established as a sector advocacy group under ATEC and its panel is represented by a cross-section of experienced industry leaders and a representative from Tourism Australia.
With the onset of COVID-19, the inbound youth tourism sector has been significantly impacted because of the closure of Australia’s borders. While some operators have been able to shift their operations to the domestic market, large-scale closures are expected with the likelihood that borders will not reopen until 2021.
This will have devastating effect on regional communities and on the Australian economy. As you may be aware Working Holiday Makers spend an average of $10,000 on their travels in Australia, cumulatively generating over $2bn each year for the visitor economy, with much of this income generated in regional areas. 
Further, Working Holiday Makers are a critical source of seasonal labour in horticulture and pastoral operations, in addition to being the only sole source of care for many Australian families (Au pairs). This is clearly demonstrated by a recent petition set up by the Au pair industry association CAPAA which generated over 1,000 signatures within two weeks. 
To respond to this situation, BYTAP has identified the following key priorities for the industry’s survival over the coming 12-month period:
- Extending financial assistance – this includes JobKeeper and additional means tested financial assistance.
- An automatic one-year extension for Working Holiday visa holders effected by the pandemic on/offshore.
- The rollout of a ‘secure corridor’ quarantine plan to bring Working Holiday Makers back to Australia from August 2020.
- Reduction in Working Holiday Visa fees
On behalf of BYTAP I am urgently seeking a meeting with the Minister to discuss these points and the way forward for our sector.
My contact details are at the bottom of this email. I look forward to having the opportunity to discuss the youth tourism sector with you.