No Snow Flight Subsidies Ski Regions Big Losers

snow action team 13.03.2021

The Australian Government’s $1.2 billion tourism industry package announced this week does absolutely nothing for the snow tourism regions hard hit by COVID-19, especially those in Victoria.

There are no flight subsidies for the key snow gateway airports of Albury and Cooma.

Why not include Qantas snow gateways in the subsidy options? © Qantas

The argument for choosing the 13 favoured destinations is supposedly they are the gateway airports for those most affected by the loss of international tourism, hence the inclusion of the likes of Cairns.

But how little Merimbula, on the NSW far south coast, made the grade ahead of Cooma for example is strange.

Merimbula depends heavily on Victorian self-drive visitors, who are now free to flock back there. And Sydney siders have been flocking south down the Princes Highway in droves – we have been visiting a sick family member in a south coast hospital over the past week, and the holiday traffic even in mid-March is solid.

The Victorian ski regions were massively hit last year, losing virtually the entire ski season tourist traffic.

So on the recovery front, why not include flights to Albury in the subsidy scheme? Qantas and Virgin are both flying there again, including some snow season flights from Brisbane.

Qantas announced three new seasonal snow routes this week.

From 1 July to 26 September 2021, the national carrier will operate three new routes to Cooma and Albury, the gateways to the snowfields in New South Wales and Victoria:

• Sydney to Cooma – flights will operate three days per week.
• Brisbane to Cooma – flights will operate two days per week.
• Brisbane to Albury – flights will operate three days per week.

All flights will be operated by QantasLink’s turboprop Q400 aircraft, offering more than 15,000 seats on the routes through winter.

Given there seems to be zero movement on a Trans-Tasman bubble and therefore New Zealand look set to remain off the travel menu for all or most of winter, there’s a great opportunity to encourage interstate snow lovers to re-connect with the local areas. Cheaper flights would obviously really help that. Full flights, more flights, more business, more jobs.

It’s not rocket science, it’s government stimulus paid for by all taxpayers to aid recovery in hard hit tourist areas. Which should be equitably applied.

Even more bizarre than Merimbula’s inclusion is including flights to northern Tasmania but not Hobart. Seriously?

So you can find a flight to Launceston and go ski Ben Lomond at least. But not Mawson via Hobart.

Ditto for Melbourne. Avalon airport half way to Geelong is on the list, so you could get to Buller from there.

But from Perth or Brisbane are you likely to?

Hopefully they will respond to criticisms and make the scheme more broadly applicable. As it stands it’s virtually useless for the snow tourism regions. Who as mentioned, have suffered as much, or more, than anywhere else in the country from a lost tourism point of view.

Why not subsidise flight to pow days at Hotham we say! © Vail Resorts