Barangaroo opens today but where have all the tourists gone?

Tourism has been Australia’s fourth most important export industry and that mantle has been undermined by coronavirus, so we should welcome a new tourist attraction which opens today in the form of the Crown Casino in Barangaroo . However, this happens when those leaving Australia far outnumber those wanting to come here.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reports that inbound travelers to Australia are currently 80% fewer than Australians heading to overseas destinations, despite sky-high airfares and a lack of seats on planes. The ABS says 231,480 short-term tourists came here in May, but 420,110 Australians went the other way.

Those numbers aren’t helped by our current political problem with Beijing, which recently escalated when Foreign Secretary Penny Wong slammed it into China over its military drills and missile launches in the aftermath. of US Democratic President Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

The daily mail
said Senator Wong, Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met at a meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers in Cambodia this week and handed him over in Beijing. “They condemned the launch of ballistic missiles by the People’s Republic of China, five of which the Japanese government says landed in its exclusive economic zones, increasing tension and destabilizing the region,” the newspaper’s Padraig Collins reported. “The Secretary and the Foreign Ministers have urged the People’s Republic of China to immediately cease military exercises.”

As important as it is to get China to behave as a cooperative global citizen, this rebuke from Chinese leaders is not helping to bring back the 1.4 million Chinese tourists, who came here every year before the pandemic. , on holiday. And for Crown, these people also like to play a little!

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Of course it will be a VIP only casino but I can see tour operators creating the pass package in the hotel room lounge, Sydney hotspots and some time on the cards, the roulette table and other gamer toys.

The new tourist attraction is now owned by US investment firm Blackstone, which paid $8.9 billion for the listed company, majority-owned by James Packer. While Packer is no longer a shareholder, selling his stake for $3.3 billion, he intends to settle with his family in his $60 million apartment in Barangaroo Tower.

Clearly, this is good news in a tourism sector that will take time to recover, with overseas travelers still discouraged by Covid concerns, the price of overseas airfares, the availability of seats and the ongoing concern about Australia’s remoteness for intrepid non-travellers.

The Albanian government must certainly step up its overseas marketing to attract all kinds of potential workers to Australia as soon as possible, as the economy is desperately short of employees. This will act as a drag on economic growth and will not help the government reduce its budget deficit and debt.

Before the pandemic, tourism directly employed 666,000 Australians, or 5% of Australia’s workforce, and 44 cents of every tourist dollar was spent on regional destinations. As noted above, tourism was Australia’s fourth largest export industry, accounting for 8.2% of our export earnings. We must therefore move heaven and earth to put this country back on the maps of world travelers.

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