New Tourism and hospitality support

Tourist industry leaders have welcomed $40 million in additional support for Queensland tourism and hospitality businesses hardest hit by a major loss of trade because of Covid-19 lockdowns.

Queensland tourism and hospitality businesses may be eligible for grants of up to $50,000 to support jobs for the Palaszczuk Government’s Economic Recovery Plan.

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the new $40 million Tourism and Hospitality Sector Hardship Program was part of the $600 million Covid-19 Business Support package, jointly funded by the Queensland and Australian Governments.

The Hardship Program offers one-off grants of $15,000, $25,000 or $50,000 for small, medium and large employing businesses across the state that have experienced a reduction in turnover of at least 70 per cent for at least seven consecutive days between 1 July and 30 September 2021.

The funding will assist these tourism and hospitality businesses to continue offering a viable product and be in a position to retain and ramp-up their workforce relatively quickly as travel restrictions ease.

The types of eligible businesses include zoos, aquariums and wildlife parks, theme parks and water parks, various types of tour operations including marine tourism, and adventure activities such as bungy jumping, abseiling, go-karting, white-water rafting, accommodation providers, cafes and restaurants, travel agents and more.

“Industry’s calls for government support are being heard,” Destination Gold Coast CEO Patricia O’Callaghan said.

“We know this measure is a significant step forward in financially supporting our 4,600 tourism businesses whose bottom line is hurting right now.

“As this crisis continues to unfold, it’s initiatives like this make all the difference.”

Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chair Ken Chapman said the Far North was facing its worst school holiday bookings since the pandemic began.

“Without travellers from New South Wales and Victoria , and with consumer confidence at an all-time low, this will give employers and employees a much-needed temporary reprieve from a dire financial situation,” Mr Chapman said. 

“This collaboration between the State and Federal Government is to be applauded as the industry faces its darkest hour.” 

And Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Daniel Gschwind said Tourism and hospitality was critical for the recovery of the Queensland economy.

“This urgently needed support will help us to keep vital businesses and their staff going through the current uncertainty,” he said.

Eligible small, medium, and large tourism and hospitality businesses include:

  • Accommodation providers
  • Zoos, aquariums and wildlife parks
  • Theme parks and water parks
  • Tour operations such as marine tourism
  • Adventure activities like bungy jumping, abseiling, go-karting, whitewater rafting
  • Travel agents
  • Cafés
  • Restaurants.

Three levels of support for eligible employing businesses will be available, based on their payroll in 2020-21:

  • $15,000 for employing sole traders to small businesses with a payroll under $1.3m
  • $25,000 for small to medium businesses with a payroll of between $1.3m and $10m inclusive
  • $50,000 for larger businesses with a payroll over $10m.

The Hardship Program guidelines and eligibility criteria will be released on the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport website once finalised and applications will open in October 2021 for a twelve-week period.

A summary of the Hardship Program is available on the website now. You can also contact the Department to be notified when the guidelines are published and the opening date for applications has been announced by emailing Businesses that have already accessed other Queensland Government COVID-19 grant payments, such as the Business Support Grant, can access the Hardship Program providing they meet the eligibility criteria.

The program is expected to be open for three months for businesses experiencing hardship, with eligibility criteria including:

  • The businesses must be open, located and operate in Queensland 
  • The business and owners/directors are solvent and employs at least one full time employee
  • The business is able to demonstrate at least a 70 per cent loss in turnover for seven consecutive days between 1 July 2021 to 30 September 2021 compared to the same period in 2018-19, 2019-20 or 2020-21.

For more information on the program go to: Tourism and Hospitality Sector Hardship Program | Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport (

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