Tourism Restart Taskforce launched

A panel of travel and tourism experts to steer Australian tourism's recovery

Flight Centre Travel Group’s Co-Founder and Boss Graham Turner is the sole retail travel agency executive named on a panel of tourism experts of the newly formed Tourism Restart Taskforce.

Launched by the national peak body for tourism organisations, the Australian Chamber – Tourism, the Taskforce will provide advice to industry and government on the short, medium and long-term priorities to rebuild tourism in Australia in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Taskforce will be chaired by industry icon, Jeremy Johnson AM, the Immediate Past President of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and former CEO of the major regional tourist attraction, Sovereign Hill.

Members of the Taskforce are:

  • Jeremy Johnson (Chair)
  • Bob East (Experience Co, Tourism Australia)
  • The Hon. Martin Ferguson (Tourist Accommodation Australia)
  • Geoff Donaghy (BECA, ASM Global, ICC Sydney)
  • Graham Turner (Flight Centre)
  • Denis Pierce (Australian Tourism Export Council)
  • Sarina Bratton (Ponant)
  • Nikki Govan (Star of Greece, Business SA)
  • The Hon. Bruce Baird (Business Events Sydney, TTF)
  • Jacqui Walshe (The Walshe Group)
  • John Hart (Australian Chamber – Tourism)
John Hart,  Australian Chamber Tourism

“The Taskforce will liaise with many facets of the government’s recovery machinery and will embrace the local, intrastate, interstate and international tourism restart effort,” said John Hart, Executive Chair of Australian Chamber Tourism.

“Travel, tourism, business events and hospitality have undoubtedly been the hardest hit by the COVID19 crisis. Given they have traditionally been huge job generators, a successful restart will be an integral part of the nation’s economic recovery.

“Australian businesses in these sectors are either closed or have minimal trade due to the border closures, movement and gathering restrictions.”

Johnson AM said: “What is required now is a considered and careful plan to restart Australia’s third-largest export industry and one of its biggest employers.

“The exceptional group of tourism leaders assembled in this Taskforce will give Australian tourism the best chance of positioning itself for long-term growth after the restart period. Tourism Australia, working with the State Tourism Bodies and the visitor economy sector, will create the demand for visitation as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis; the Taskforce will focus on the structure to ensure all tourism businesses can deliver on that promise,” Johnson said.

ATEC Chair, Denis Pierce, said: “Our tourism and hospitality industry has had a knockout blow causing widespread damage to hundreds of thousands of businesses and livelihoods across the nation.

“This forum provides a vehicle to move our industry through this troubled period as a united voice.”

The Walshe Group’s Jacqui Walshe said: “All businesses in the tourism economy are struggling with the scale of this impact and many of our tourism businesses are genuinely worried about the survival of their organisation and the potential long-term damage to the whole sector.”

“This Taskforce brings together many of our key industry bodies and is an opportunity for cooperation and collaboration in finding the right solutions for all of us to ensure tourism is able to recover its ability to make a genuine and significant contribution to the Australian economy.”

The Taskforce will feed into the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission and the Austrade Tourism Incident Response Coordination group.  Through ACCI it will feed into the Business Liaison Group in Treasury and the Department of Industry recovery group.

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