Labor is calling for the government to double the amount of money on offer to promote tourism in bushfire-hit areas amid fears about the impact of coronavirus.
Labor is calling for the government to double the amount of money on offer to promote tourism in bushfire-hit areas amid fears about the impact of coronavirus.

Double the money to attract tourists: ALP

As the Morrison government works on how best to keep the economy alive through the coronavirus shock, Labor says it should start by doubling the budget to promote tourism.

The government had already earmarked $76 million to promote tourism to bushfire-affected areas among domestic and international travellers.

There have been suggestions the aim of these campaigns might now be broadened to include the wider industry, particularly areas like north Queensland that have been hit hard by the drop in global travel amid fears about the deadly coronavirus.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese visited Coolangatta, on the Gold Coast, on Friday where he said tourist numbers had crashed.

"In some cases, they can't come even if they want to come and that is having an impact on the economy here," he told reporters.

It wasn't good enough if all the government planned was to reallocate money away from bushfire affected areas to places like Cairns, he said.

"What we need is an injection of support from the commonwealth government into communities like this one in order to maintain jobs and ensure the economy keeps going forward."

Labor tourism spokesman Don Farrell called for the government to at least double its support to the sector.

"It's going to be a bigger problem and if it's a bigger problem then the government needs to have a better response," he told reporters in Canberra.

The nation's tourism and trade ministers had a briefing from the chief medical officer during a meeting in Canberra on Friday.

Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham told them that while they had gathered for a regularly scheduled meeting, it was in extraordinary times.

"Our industry, we know, is doing it incredibly tough at present, facing an enormous downturn in bookings across the board and in no way shape or form does the commonwealth underestimate the pain that tourism businesses and operators and regions are feeling at present around Australia," he told them.

"Our determination is to make sure that we see the Australian tourism industry through this."