Onto the Recovery Now

Industry, including QTIC, and government are now very much focused on the process of getting business and the community out of restrictions and back to business. There is so much going on that it can become a bit confusing, even within government agencies, regarding who is doing what. Having said that, all the agencies we are dealing with are exceptionally pro-active and responsive to industry concerns and suggestions, as are the responsible Ministers. It is an effective partnership and we will continue to do our very best in keeping tourism involved in all relevant discussion and making life a little easier for all operators.

At QTIC we are particularly preoccupied with assisting industry in putting up credible COVID-19 plans and protocols that can complement and accelerate the government’s easing of restriction plans (see Roadmap to recovery below). This is a very important effort and we thank everybody involved for their support.

The big challenge is to come up with a comprehensive and consistent framework that can cover as much of the industry as possible in a simple, easy-to-follow way. The health professionals we engaged from Mater Health are working diligently with us and we appreciate the support from DITID and others.

In addition, we are working with our national organisation, Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) to create an online, COVID-19 clean business module, based on the Quality Tourism Framework platform. Completing the checklist will give access to a national COVID-clean logo for tourism operators. The intention is to reassure travellers of our industry’s ability to provide safe experiences as travel restrictions are eased.

Finally, our previously announced online, micro-credentials training platform, to be activated shortly, will contain a number of COVID safety modules, consistent with Queensland Government health directives.

I sincerely hope that with all the goodwill and determination from operators, our industry partners and government, we will be able to chart a path out of this crisis that is as smooth and coordinated as possible. QTIC remains determined to throw every resource we have at this challenge. Our industry, and particularly all our loyal members, should expect nothing less from their industry organisation.

We will get there.

Kind regards
Daniel Gschwind

Industry Webinar

TEQ, in partnership with the Department of State Development, Tourism and Innovation and Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC), is delighted to announce an exceptional line-up of speakers at this Friday’s Industry Update.

We are inviting tourism and events businesses from all across the state to join us this Friday, 15 May, from 2:00pm-3:15pm.

Register here.

Trade payments

There are still significant concerns around the non-payment from some travel agency platforms for debts with Queensland operators.  One online agency alone, Adventium, is estimated to owe Queensland tourism operators millions of dollars for services already delivered to customers before COVID restrictions. This is an unacceptable situation for businesses already struggling under the financial stress of the actual crisis and they should not be subjected to such poor business practices by companies in the distribution system. QTIC has made an effort to understand the legal situation surrounding this case and is communicating with affected businesses and the Queensland Government. We are happy to hear from affected businesses.

The situation raises more general questions about the suitability and reliability of the current commercial and legislated arrangements and practices of the tourism distribution system. At QTIC we will engage in a conversation about this topic to consider if there are better ways to serve operators.

Roadmap to recovery

The 3-stage roadmap released last week both nationally and for Queensland indicated timelines that were actually more encouraging than previously feared. However, much work remains to be done to achieve the best outcome and to possibly accelerate the easing of restrictions, particularly in relation to the maximum numbers of people allowed for a range of tourism and hospitality activities.

These are the particularly noteworthy points for tourism and hospitality, based on the latest meetings we have had with government:

  • Stage 1 – 15 May:
    • the government’s general business check lists are meet to provide certainty for operators in terms of their obligations, provide safe environments for staff and keep customers safe.
    • There are mandatory requirements for restaurants and cafes opening in stage 1.  These requirements can be found here and cover topics like customer record-keeping, hygiene standards and social distancing. As part of those requirements, all staff will have to complete a TAFE-provided, free, on-line training module (yet to be released). The training must be completed within two weeks of opening the business.  Restaurant and café provisions are mandatory and will be enforced.
  • Stage 2 – 12 June:
    • The main change will be the opening of overnight stays in commercial accommodation. For the school holidays, this will effectively be the re-start for some domestic tourism. Many attractions and tours will remain closed due to likely customer restrictions.
    • A main concern for many tourism and hospitality business remains the limitation to 20 customers at this stage.  In our latest meeting with the Chief Health Officer, she indicated that the detailed provisions for Stage 2 are still flexible and could change, subject to infection rates and business compliance. Specifically, she indicated that with effective industry and sector health protocols in place, she would consider allowing for greater numbers for compliant businesses. This is where QTIC’s current work is focused with the support of Mater Health professionals and sector associations. Our aim is to provide the Chief Health Officer with all the necessary check lists and protocols to give her the confidence that the tourism industry and its individual businesses are prepared to cater safely for its customers and look after staff. 
    • For stage 2 we are also keen to see a more flexible distance regime, possibly extending the 250 km radius, particularly for regional areas.
  • Stage 3 – 10 July
    • This will be the most significant step both in terms of geographic freedoms and also with customer numbers increasing to 100. Still not sufficient for some attractions but certainly effective for restaurants and many tour options. All the provisions for Stage 3 will remain under review and we can hope for better news.
Unique 8 part webinar/podcast series from BTL Gems

Register now for the 'Advancing Women in Tourism' webinar/podcast series hosted by the talented and well-known tourism identity Kayleen Allen

The aim of the Advancing Women in Tourism series is to connect, engage and support women in tourism throughout Queensland. 

This webinar/podcast series has been made possible due to the Queensland Government’s Advancing Women in Business initiative and is support by the Queensland Tourism Industry Council and Tourism Events Queensland.

Register here. 

Some promising tourism statistics 

study done by UQ Business School released towards the end of April found:

  • 50% of Australians want to travel domestically
  • number one motivator for travelling was cited as needing to support Australian tourism
  • 50% said they will drive to their destination rather than fly or take public transport
  • Cities were least appealing destinations
  • Travellers will be more aware of hygiene standards
COVID19 business support loans

QRIDA has confirmed that the additional funding is to enable the Queensland Government to assess and consider more of the existing pool of applications that were lodged prior to the program closing.  Due to the quantum of funding requested by existing applications, the additional funding is unlikely to be able to cover all of the existing applications that have already been lodged.  There are no plans to open the fund to new applications.

So far, 3,373 loans have been approved for a total value of $498.1 million, with over $406 million in loans already drawn down.  Tourism is well represented in the industries receiving loans with cafes and restaurants, accommodation providers, travel agencies and tour operators, and clubs featuring in the top 10 industries to receive loans.

Further information on the loans can be found here.

This will be disappointing to many businesses who wanted to lodge an application after the date the fund closed.  Other options for funding support are outlined in the DITID Update which is available here.

The Queensland government is considering what steps to take in the view of the high uptake of this loan facility.