Airfare subsidies to kickstart domestic tourism in areas dependent on international travellers

Do Australian’s need to be told where to take a holiday or when?

Why should the 13 destinations, 11 if you discount Launceston, Devonport and Burnie as the same place, be the sole beneficiaries of $1.2B of subsidised air travel?

There are many other expensive to get to tourist destinations in Australia that have been ignored. Surely the subsidy should target more destinations and spread the largess more equitably. The ABC mentions a bias towards regions with marginal Federal electorates. Hopefully unintended by the Govt or as a comment by the ABC. The Govt has announced it has targeted the areas for other more economic reasons.

I suspect the lack of tourist numbers to the listed locations has little to do with the cost of the air fares. Only those with higher incomes and spare cash will be able to make the most of the deal. In the interim Cairns is undergoing a property price boom with out of town buyers soaking up properties faster than they can print the Sold stickers. That part of the NQ tourism industry is doing just fine. Apologies to the locals who belong to the more hospitable side of tourism in Cairns. See you in May.


While I don’t necessarily support subsidises for anything, I can see why they have selected the 11 destinations. Some of these destinations in the past decades have been attractive places for international tourists to visit and their patronage has been dominated by international tourists (rather than being a highly desirable domestic holiday destination). The exceptions would be possibly the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and some of those in Tassie). I suspect that they have not been overly attractive as a domestic destination as the cost to visit the more remote locations is high and many might find it cheaper to visit other domestic places or travel overseas (such as to NZ or Bali).

Notwithstanding this, being in Tassie and the tourism industry, many businesses have benefited from international borders being closed (from Aussies unable to travel overseas even though international tourists are unable to arrive) and domestic traveller looking for a different local experience for their holidays. These include accommodation, food and beverage and to a lesser extent adventure type providers. Even our own business the bookings over the last month (coinciding with the announcement of the arrival of the vaccination which seems to have boosted confidence) are similar to those of the corresponding period last year. Many other local business operators in food, beverage and accommodation have also indicated likewise.

However, many others have suffered as what they offer is of potentially low interest to Aussies or those which offer an unique Australian experience and were established solely for the international tourism market. These include things like bus/travel tours companies, souvenir retailers, holding a koala or feeding a roo, riding a horse and buggy through a town etc. I am unsure whether the subsidies will have a significant impact on those businesses which interest interest international tourists, but may not have the same level of interest from domestic travellers.

While the subsidy may increase travel to those destinations, it may have limited benefit to those operators which have targeted international travellers in the past and may not be of much interest to Australian travellers. The only option for these businesses is try and change their business very quickly to try and capture the local domestic traveller’s interest (which could be very difficult as it may be very difficult to get financial support for changes or may result in multiple businesses now doing the same thing)…or to potentially close.


I thought the same, and then read this. Perhaps since Sept last year things have changed? Apologies for choosing this source, but news is news. International travel looks to be off for a further 12 months.

ScMo and the Treasurer might save some cash by taking Broome off the travel list. Obviously the high cost of getting there is not a deterrent. Providing the borders stay open. Post the coming WA election this may be more certain.

The Qld Govt Holiday spending voucher raffle has a similar strategy in targeting only Cairns. The cheaper air travel to some destinations and Cairns raffle risks diverting would be travellers away from other tourism destinations. It would seem unlikely that it would encourage those not keen to spend on what are relatively expensive destinations. A gain mostly for those already intending to go on holidays to Broome and Cairns etc. Will they now spend more or stay longer?
Time will tell.


I see Scott Morrison has come out today saying that if all goes well, international may be possible at this stage after October 2021. There are caveats whereby it is a wait and see. I suspect the October timeframe is based in pressure from various groups and also highly successful uptake of the vaccination…to levels that tye CMO believesit provides sufficient herd immunity for the whole population.

In Tassie, the industry has been told that it is highly unlikely for international travel to return until sometime into 2022. I think 2022 is more realistic…October 2021 extremely optimistic.


There’s currently criticism coming from WA and Qld and Tas, concerning the choices that have been made.

Whether it is the brightest of schemes from the point of view of tourism operators or favouring certain states over others?

Being a Queenslander there’s no logic and some irony in offering to subsidise flights from here to say Tassie as Winter approaches. We usually like most southerners go north if we can for winter. It’s about the same distance.

There’s not that much wrong with Winter in Tassie. For those of us who enjoy the change to a cold and not so dry climate, it’s a good time to stay indoors out of the rain, drink great champagne or local crafted whiskey, and enjoy the local roast lamb. No pork needed. I prefer the local seafood and King island cheeses. Which is suggesting those up here looking for a winter change might not need a discounted air fare to make that decision.


5-7 days last year, the winter days were perfect for the great outdoors, providing one doesn’t wish to swim. No wind, blue sunny skies and crisp nights.

It looks like the locations selected have airports and routes which service the capitals…or in a short drive of such airports.

There are many locations which are traditionally supported by domestic travel as well.


How will the 50% discount work? I have yet to see any explanation. Anyone have any insights? With dynamic pricing of airfares there’s a huge variation of fares each day. It seems to me that a flat rate voucher system would have been much easier to implement.


This is what Tourism Tasmania is saying:

  • The 50% discount on tickets will be offered for flights to and from Launceston, Burnie and Devonport and will be available on airline websites from 1 April.

It appears that from 1 April the discounts will become available for tickets purchased on the airline websites.

If you are planning to take up the offer, also ensure that you book directly with accommodation and other service providers (call them or email them directly). This ensures that they receive the maximum benefit of the stimulus package. If you book through a booking website, up to 15% of the booking amount will be heading to someone else and most likely to an overseas multinational.


Per the following, it appears the fares offered will be discounted by the airline prior to sale. There is also an interactive embedded table (4 pages wide) listing the flight sectors proposed by the government and discussed with the airline industry.

It’s effectively a government subsidy that will be paid directly to each airline.

The discounts will be calculated according to the “average fare” as of February this year and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack says the airlines have assured the government they won’t be able to hike up prices.

“I’ve had long discussions with both Alan Joyce and Jane Hrdlicka from Qantas and Virgin respectively, they’re not going to do that,” he told Sky News.

There is no further detail on what the final prices will be, although the article suggests discounted tickets will become available over the coming weeks?