MEDIA STATEMENT 17 March 2021

For immediate release

Australia’s peak body representing the inbound youth tourism industry calls on government as a matter of urgency to act now to protect the future of Australia’s youth tourism industry.

The results derived from a recent nation-wide survey of over 200 youth tourism operators conducted to measure the impact the expiration of JobKeeper will have on the inbound youth travel industry has echoed and validated the concerns BYTAP has expressed to government repeatedly.

BYTAP spokesperson Brendan McKenna said the questionnaire which was completed by all facets of youth tourism operators around Australia, focused on two core issues – impact on operations and impact on employment. “The findings are nothing short of confronting and devastating”.

Pre-COVID, Australia’s inbound youth tourism industry generated $3.2billion to the visitor economy and for decades attracted millions of young people from all over the world to our shores to study, work and experience all that Australia has to offer (source: Tourism Australia – https://www.tourism.australia.com/en/markets-and-stats/industry-sectors/youth.html).

Without further wage subsidy support from the government, industry leaders fear the worst.

“If the government turns their backs on us now and fail to protect us. There will be job losses. There will be business closures. There will be fractures in our industry. It will take a long time to restore the legacy our industry has collectively created and Australia’s competitive edge will be compromised” said McKenna.

SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY SURVEY FINDINGS:

Operations:
– 41% have lost 76-100% in turnover YTD, in comparison to the 35% loss last year.
– Of the 77% who completed the survey, over 80% of their business relied on international markets, including 18% exclusively reliant on international markets to operate.
– Only 51% have been able to shift to domestic markets.
– Of the 48% of operators who haven’t been able to shift to domestic markets, nearly half advised that their business model or offering does not appeal to the domestic market (e.g. hostels, 4WD tours – Australians will do themselves);
Backpacker & Youth Tourism Advisory Panel – BYTAP www.bytap.org
– 10% cite lack of staff as a key factor; and many claim the border closures and strict domestic quarantine restrictions have stifled their domestic prospects.

Employment:
– 40% of operators believe they will not be employing any staff post JobKeeper (currently only 17% & 8% pre-COVID-19)
– 39% of Regional employers expect to employer no staff (non-employing) after JobKeeper ends (currently only 19% are non-employing & 8% pre-COVID-19).
– 43% of Urban employers expect to have no staff (non-employing) after JobKeeper ends (currently only 17% & 6% pre-COVID-19)
– 89% have relied on JobKeeper. Operators lament the reduction in hours imposed on staff, despite being on JobKeeper, and ineligibility of employed

Working Holiday Makers (WHMs) on their teams.
Sentiment:
– 81% of surveyed participants stated that financial pressure and the lag until international borders reopen are the key concerns for operators.
– 46% said retaining staff is challenging
– 66% expect losses to continue in FY22, with 22% predicting they will be 76% -100% down
– 21% believe their business won’t survive without a wage subsidy if JobKeeper ends, with up to 62% uncertain of their future.
– For most (53%), it will take them up to 3 months to scale up once international borders open.
– For 23% it will take over 6 months to return to pre-COVID levels.

Note: Survey conducted by BYTAP between 12-16 March 2021, with 204 respondents from the youth tourism sector in Australia, covering accommodation, tour operators, tourism attractions and experience providers.

END

BYTAP Contacts:

Brendan McKenna
brendan.mckenna@jucyworld.com
0400 887 117

Wendi Aylward
waylward@aifs.com.au
0402 283 783