Support for Business

Due to the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on the tourism industry the Australian Government have released a range of programs to assist small businesses, including tourism businesses.

On 1 December 2020 the Australian Government announced it would provide a one off payment to assist travel agents and tour arrangement service providers who have been impacted by COVID-19. Under the $128 million scheme, eligible applicants will be able to apply for the one off payment. Find more information on COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program.

These programs include:

  • The Government’s JobKeeper Payment, which will help businesses keep more Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the significant economic impact of the Coronavirus.
  • On 21 July the Government announced an extension of the JobKeeper Payment until 28 March 2021, targeting support to those businesses and not-for-profits who continue to be significantly impacted by the coronavirus.

The Government is providing a range of cash flow, investment and lending incentives:

  • Cash Flow Boost program for SMEs that employ staff during the economic downturn of payments up to $100,000
  • Cash support for small business to retain their apprentices and trainees. Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage until 30 September 2021.
  • Increasing the instant asset write off and introducing a 15-month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment and economic growth by accelerating depreciation deductions.
  • Temporary changes to insolvency laws to provide businesses with a safety net so they can resume normal operations when the crisis has passed.
  • Under the Temporary Loss Carry-Back changes, businesses will be able to apply their losses against profits taxed in a previous year as far back as the 2018–19 income year.
  • Measures to free up the flow of capital for exporting businesses:
    • Quick and efficient access to credit for small business – providing temporary exemption from responsible lending obligations for lenders providing credit to existing small business customers.
    • Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme – the Government will guarantee 50 per cent of new loans issued by eligible lenders to SMEs.
    • COVID-19 Export Capital Facility – access to business-saving loans between $250,000 and $50 million under a $500 million capital facility to target loans to established and previously profitable exporters who, due to COVID-19, are unable to gain finance from commercial sources.
  • Another program to assist small businesses to pivot towards digital solutions includes the $22.2 million package to expand the Australian Small Business Advisory Service – Digital Solutions program, a Digital Readiness Assessment tool and a Digital Directors training package.

Support for tourism and travel

  • With international borders closed for the foreseeable future, Tourism Australia (TA) is prioritising its recovery efforts towards industry support and stimulating domestic tourism.
  • Domestic tourism is a $100 billion industry, accounting for two-thirds of the visitor economy, with Australians spending $80 billion on overnight trips and $26 billion on day trips annually.
  • TA’s September Consumer Research shows that 60 per cent of Aussie travellers are keen to travel or are considering travel around Australia once they can.
  • The popularity of TA’s award-winning online training program has boomed during the crisis, and as part of TA’s focus on domestic, the program has now been adapted and made available to the domestic tourism industry.
  • Other key tourism programs include:
    • $100 million of funding earmarked for tourism infrastructure under a new round of the Building Better Regions Fund will help regions boost the supply of new quality tourism infrastructure to drive visitation in the regions.
    • $50 million for a Recovery for Regional Tourism Fund to boost the industry in nine regions heavily reliant on international tourism will deliver tailored assistance measures to help tourism businesses pivot their products and marketing to the domestic market.
    • $100 million to a Regional Recovery Partnerships program will coordinate investment with other levels of government to support growth and recovery, including in tourism, in ten priority regions.
    • $50 million Business Events grants program to get meetings, conventions and conferences up and running again will be of significant benefit to metropolitan-based visitor economies that are much more reliant on corporate markets.

COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund measures

  • Support has been provided through the $1 billion Relief and Recovery Fund with targeted measures for the tourism and travel industry, including:
    • $94.6 million to support exhibiting zoos and aquariums – key drivers of tourism around Australia that have an urgent need to address animal wellbeing and to ensure they can survive through the crisis.
    • $33.5 million to fund conservation work and infrastructure upgrades across 23 national and world heritage sites, protecting our heritage, creating jobs and lasting benefits for our tourism industry.
    • $20 million of fee waivers in relation to access to marine and national parks.
    • $27 million allocated to a range of arts-related organisations to assist the continuity of these important drivers and contributors to the tourism economy.
    • $50 million to guarantee full payments for Export Market Development Grant recipients.
  • More broadly, support has been provided through:
    • $900 million to the aviation sector, including initiatives to support regional airlines, to help it through the unprecedented period of disruption.
    • $233 million for tourism and other infrastructure in Commonwealth National Parks.
    • $250 million for artists and the creative industry through the Creative Economy Support Package.

COVID-19 Support

The Australian Government, together with state and territory governments, has established an $80 million Infection Control Training Fund to fast‑track fee free (or low fee) infection control training to support the re-opening of customer‑facing businesses nationwide.

To support the rollout of this training, the Australian Government has partnered with all state and territory governments to offer at least 80,000 places to support this critical infection control training in customer‑facing businesses including retail, tourism, hospitality, cleaning, security, transport and logistics, and aged and disability care.

Moreover, state and territory governments have COVID-19 Safe tools for small business to ensure they are meeting requirements to keep both their staff and visitors safe.

Snapshot Guide to Online Payment Platforms for Chinese Visitors

The use of online payment platforms has reshaped the way people pay for goods and services in China. The Australian tourism sector is likely to benefit significantly from greater acceptance of these platforms. Austrade has developed a Snapshot Guide to Online Payment Platforms for Chinese Visitors to assist tourism businesses.

Resilience Kits

Self-help resilience kits are available to assist tourism businesses and organisations: Don’t Risk It – A guide to assist tourism businesses to prepare, respond and recover from a crisis and Don’t risk it – Industry resilience kits for regional tourism organisations.

Guide to Best Practice Destination Management

Self-help tool to assist you with the development of integrated tourism plans that consider all your business development needs. is an online government resource for the Australian business community. It is a whole-of-government service providing essential information on planning, starting and growing businesses.

Grant and Assistance Finder Tool

Provides the ability to search for grant funding and support provided by the Australian, state and territory governments.

Industry Associations

Industry Associations can assist your business by providing information, support, networking, training and advocacy. Austrade works with a range of industry associations including: the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC), Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF), Australian Regional Tourism Network (ARTN) and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI). There are also tourism industry councils in most states and territories as well as many sector-specific associations.

The Australian Government is working with industry organisations, and the broader industry, to ensure that Australian tourism remains open for business, despite the challenges presented by bushfires and COVID-19. The Australian Government has made tourism one of its five national investment priorities.