Tourism Industry Council Tasmania (TICT) is the peak body representing the Tasmanian tourism industry. It is a not-for-profit organisation, promoting the value of tourism and advocating on behalf of our industry. At the 2021 annual Tasmanian Tourism Conference, TICT Chair Daniel Leesong, explained the position as follows:
The hard truth is some 18 months since borders first closed, we are today looking at the most uncertain conditions we’ve had yet – with COVID seemingly out of control in NSW, no absolute certainty of when borders might again open to our main markets in NSW and Victoria, and No Job Keeper to secure our workforce and provide an industry safety net.
The voucher program and the grants announced last week are timely and appropriate – but they are short-term measures.
We simply cannot go on for long like this, without it leading to severe consequences for many of us in this room – and the broader Tasmanian economy.
How realistically do you manage your staffing levels in this uncertainty?
Are we needing to urgently reduce our staffing levels, or do we need to try and hold on to them in expectations for a promising, busy summer?
How do you plan investment? Negotiate with Banks, or Creditors, or Suppliers?
The fact is we need certainty as employers, and as an economy.
The national cabinet has set a clear target to end mass lockdown restrictions when we hit a 70 percent vaccination rate – and then a commitment to unrestricted travel for vaccinated Australians, when we hit 80 percent.
As an industry, we must expect this to mean an end to border restrictions as we know them now. Irrespective of the state of Covid in the larger States.
When we hit those targets as expected in October or November, we simply must find a more sustainable way to manage the COVID risk to Tasmania without the need to apply hard borders with the other States.
Keeping Tasmanians safe will always be our priority – but so to is securing Tasmanian livelihoods.
In this context, at our meeting yesterday, the TICT Board endorsed a position that we now propose to the Tasmanian Government;
Firstly we cannot urge strongly enough to our businesses and their staff, please get vaccinated.
We also stress to government the critical importance to businesses of certainty around the vaccination threshold to ensure unrestricted movement from mainland Australia to Tasmania.
And finally, and crucially – we support the principle of mandatory vaccines for the issuing of Tas E-Travel passes.
In effect, making vaccination mandatory to enter the State without the risk of quarantining or other restrictions, as there are now.
This would make us one of the first destinations in the world to have this system in place, but also show now that we as an industry want to strike a balance between certainty, and ensuring Tasmanians are protected as much as they can be in the new Covid norm.
It is a responsible position for us to take as an industry – and it increasingly looks to be the right position to take if we are to find a way out of our current circumstances...'
- Daniel Leesong, TICT Chair, 19 August 2021