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.

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 COVID-19.
  • 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 still closed, the Government 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.

The Government is delivering a range of programs to help secure the future of Australia’s tourism industry, including:

  • The Tourism Aviation Network Support program to encourage and boost demand for domestic travel bookings to regions heavily reliant on international tourism.
  • Two rounds of the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support program, providing one-off grants in each round to eligible travel agents and tour arrangement service providers
  • $40 million for an Indigenous Tourism Fund to provide business support and grants for Indigenous tourism operators and community organisations
  • $50 million for a Recovery for Regional Tourism Fund to boost tourism in nine regions heavily reliant on international tourism and deliver tailored assistance measures to help tourism businesses pivot to the domestic market
  • $100 million of funding for tourism infrastructure under a new round of the Building Better Regions Fund which will help boost the supply of new quality tourism infrastructure to drive visitation in the regions
  • $100 million for the Regional Recovery Partnerships program, to support growth and recovery of ten priority regions

COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund

Support has been provided through the $1 billion Relief and Recovery Fund with targeted measures for the tourism and travel industry, including:

  • $50 million for the Business Events Grants program which is currently open for applications, to help instil confidence in the business events industry
  • $94.6 million for the Zoos and Aquariums program to assist in covering the fixed operations costs of caring for animals during the pandemic.
  • $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 help these important drivers and contributors to the visitor economy to remain open
  • $50 million to guarantee full payments for Export Market Development Grant recipients, including those in the tourism sector

More broadly, support has been provided through: 

  • $900 million to the aviation sector, including initiatives to support domestic and regional airlines, to help navigate through this 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.

Tourism Aviation Network Support program

The Tourism Aviation Network Support (TANS) program will help build Australians’ confidence to travel domestically across Australia. TANS will:

  • Help drive tourism demand for interstate travel, and support economic recovery in regional Australia.
  • Halve the price of over 800,000 airfares to select tourism regions.

Discounted tickets will be available from April to 31 July for travel until 30 September 2021.

For more information about regions included in the program, please see the TANS Fact sheet. Regions wanting to put a case forward can email

The TANS program is administered by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications. For additional information on the program, please visit Assistance to the Aviation Sector, or contact

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 (PDF)to assist tourism businesses.

Resilience kits

Self-help resilience kits are available to assist tourism businesses and organisations:

Guide to best practice destination management

The Guide to best practice destination management (PDF) is a self-help tool that will 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.

Grants and assistance finder tool

The Grants and assistance finder tool allows you to search for grants, funding and support programs across government to help your business grow and succeed.

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:

There are also tourism industry councils in most states and territories as well as many sector-specific associations.

The Australian Government has made tourism one of its five national investment priorities and will continue to work with industry, to ensure that Australian tourism remains open for business, despite the challenges presented by the global COVID-19 pandemic and 2019-20 bushfires.