ACCI welcomes the recommendations made by the Select Committee on Commonwealth Bilateral Air Service Agreements.

The inquiry recommended that the decision to deny Qatar Airways’ application for increased flight capacity be immediately reviewed. Furthermore, future decisions about additional flights should be supported by stakeholder consultation and a cost-benefit analysis.

“Greater transparency in the decision-making process is a step in the right direction,” Australian Chamber – Tourism executive chair John Hart said.

“The decision to deny the Qatar Airways application was incredibly disappointing for Australian tourism operators.

“The government’s failure to provide a coherent justification for the decision added to the frustration of tourism operators.

“The effect of the government’s decision was to turn off the tap for additional tourists who can visit Australia. It also artificially inflated prices for consumers.”

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting travel restrictions, tourism was a major contributor the Australian economy. Domestic and international tourism and travel spend totalled $166 billion, with 44 cents of every tourism dollar spent in regional destinations. It was the fourth largest export sector, and directly or indirectly supported over one million jobs.

“The tourism industry is grateful to the Senate Select Committee on Commonwealth Bilateral Air Services Agreements for shining a spotlight on this regrettable chapter.

“Engagement between the Transport Department and the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority is a positive move, and we hope that it will lead to a review of the original misguided decision as the Committee has recommended.”

Ashley Gardiner

Director - Media and Communications

P: 0262708020

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