Australia’s largest retail representative body, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), said the reopening of the international border is a welcome relief for businesses particularly small businesses who are heavily reliant on international tourists, including travel retailers and tourism operators, who’ve experienced significant downturns since the pandemic hit.
ARA CEO Paul Zahra said the announcement is an important confidence boost for business and it sends a strong signal to the rest of the world that Australia is finally back open for business.
“This has been a long time coming, after more than 700 days cut off from the rest of the world. It’s critical to business confidence that we remain consistent in our plans to reopen and stay open,” Mr Zahra said.
“Whilst this is a positive step in our Covid recovery, it will take years for international travel patterns to return to anywhere near pre-pandemic levels. It means a slow and staggered recovery rather than an immediate snap back to the way things were in 2019. Tourism is a key driver of economic growth with international visitors spending around $45 billion in 2018-19, before the pandemic hit.
“The revitalisation of our CBDs needs to remain a key focus as the return of international tourists, students and workers aren’t silver bullet solutions. We need to incentivise people back to our city centres, back to the office and back enjoying the cultural attractions which make a trip to the city an unrivalled experienced.
“It’s also important that the states and territories are aligned in their approach to managing overseas arrivals. We’re going to repel tourists if they have to go into quarantine for several days.
“Western Australia remains a roadblock to our global positioning with its border remaining closed. We call on the WA State Government to set a date for the reopening, so the country is united in its approach to living with Covid.”
ARA Media Team
T 0419 270 863
About us: The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is the oldest, largest and most diverse national retail body, representing a $360bn sector which employs 1.3 million Australians and is the largest private sector employer in the country. As Australia’s peak retail body, representing more than 100,000 retail shop fronts and online stores, the ARA informs, advocates, educates, protects and unifies our independent, national and international retail community. To learn more about ARA’s exclusive member benefits and more, visit retail.org.au