Tourism jobs will suffer as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Tourism jobs will suffer as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

20,000 jobs on the line as Northern NSW tourism suffers

MORE than 20,000 workers in Northern NSW will be impacted by the "devastating" coronavirus outbreak, as the tourism industry takes a massive hit.

With international travellers going into isolation, domestic air travel reduced and people told to observe social distancing, tourism bookings are plummeting.

According to Destination North Coast, the 2017 Tourism Research Australia National Visitor Survey showed that the tourism industry employed 10,028 people on a full time basis and a further 11,543 people in part time work.

This means that tourism supplies 9.5 per cent of all jobs in the region (Tweed to Mid North Coast) and a further 8307 are indirectly employed by 7000 businesses.

During normal periods, tourism delivers $7824 of visitor spending to the region every minute, or $11 million per day.

But now all that now is now disappearing.

Chair of Destination North Coast, Cameron Arnold, it has been a devastating period for the sector since September 2019.

"It started with the bushfires, then we had flooding and now the coronavirus, it has been a difficult period, but no doubt the hardest period is now, and how we survive this period and we come out to the other side, that's what we need to manage," he said.

"For the tourism industry the outlook is extremely negative.

"At the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak we had businesses down 50 to 80 per cent from the same period last year.

"Now, with the recent measures by the government, it's bringing the industry to a grinding halt."

Mr Arnold said a recent Tourism Australia Conference in Adelaide delivered a message of resilience to the sector.

"The general advice was that we will come out the other side, and we do come out we need to be ready, because the competition to get the tourists travelling again will be huge," he said.

"We are talking 140 other destinations from around the world going after the same business."

Byron Bay alone usually attracts 1.1 million visitors each year.

Destination Byron president David Jones estimated accommodation providers would be looking at "around half the normal April demand".

He said April was "normally a very robust month" for the region.

Along with the school holidays, a big contributor would ordinarily be Bluesfest Byron Bay over the Easter long weekend.

But organisers of the festival, which was tipped to attract 100,000 people, this week announced it would not proceed this Easter.

May and June were "as much a concern as April", Mr Jones said, and he's estimating those later months could be down 50 to 70 per cent on typical accommodation demand.

"To be honest the region's so reliant on the visitor economy and it's such a small shire in terms of residents, the local population could only support a very small portion of the visitor economy participants," Mr Jones said.

"I'm not optimistic the locals have the right purchasing power to weather the storm (for visitor economy participants)."