Government AffairsWhile STB comes to the aid of those impacted by coronavirus, Australian taxpayers’ group is against the idea

Should the travel industry be given handouts? No way, says this group

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Taxpayers don’t need to subsidise every industry facing hard times, says advocacy group.
Taxpayers don’t need to subsidise every industry facing hard times, says advocacy group.

SYDNEY – It seems not everyone believes the tourism industry should be given handouts to compensate for loss of business due to the global coronavirus outbreak.

While the Singapore Tourism Board this week offered help to hotels and tour guides hit by the slump in international visitors  to Singapore, one group in Australia has made it clear that the government should keep its wallet firmly closed.

In a hard-hitting statement, the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance (ATA), which claims to be the nation’s largest grassroots advocacy group representing taxpayers, has recommended against giving government handouts to the tourism industry to make up for their lost profits during the China travel ban introduced by the Australian government.

“A travel ban is instituted. Less than a week later the tourism industry has begun begging for government funding like a kid in a toy store begging for a chinpokomon because his friend Stan has one,” said ATA policy director, Emilie Dye

“Farmers have received subsidies after suffering for years in a government-made drought. Bushfire survivors have received aid after losing everything to the fires. I don’t think travel agencies quite make the cut?” said Ms Dye. “The taxpayers don’t need to subsidise every industry facing hard times.

“It seems the tourism industry has forgotten the primary rule of investing: diversify, diversify, diversify. They put all their bats in one basket and now they have come home to roost. Travel agencies still have 194 countries they can do business with.”

Ms Dye said  taxpayers were not responsible for poor business practices in the tourism industry. “By not subsidising an industry, we force them to be better. No one said going into business was easy,” she added.

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