Canberra: Australian tourism operators have revealed the international market still need time to rebound about half a year after the country’s border reopened.
It recently marked six months since Australia opened up to international visitors almost two years after the border was closed to prevent the spread of Covid-19, reports Xinhua news agency.
According to data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) earlier in August, there were 730,400 total international arrivals in June.
Of those, 275,300 were travellers visiting Australia for short-term holidays.
By comparison there were 660,340 short-term overseas arrivals in Australia in June 2019.
While an increase in Australians holidaying domestically has offset some fall in international visitors, the tourism industry is still waiting for international visitors and also facing staffing problems.
ABS labour force data found there are 51,900 jobs vacant in the accommodation and food services industries across the country in May, and with official unemployment rate at the lowest in decades, not enough local workers to fill them.
Prior to the pandemic the tourism industry was reliant on international backpackers on working holiday visas.
Since December the federal government has approved 102,800 Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa applications but only 49,000 successful applicants have entered the country in the same time.
“The major international factor that we’re dealing with is the lack of backpackers,” John Geappen, the owner-operator of a tourism business in Western Australia (WA), was quoted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Friday.
“The result is we’ve got a lot of businesses that are suffering. Hundreds and hundreds of hospitality-related businesses rely on them.”
Some experts told ABC there are a number of reasons for the difficulty of the industry, including the high cost and inconsistency of flights, delays in the processing of visas, the continued Covid restrictions and the slow return of cruise ships.