CANBERRA, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- The state government of South Australia has announced that it will subsidize the development of tourist attractions to help the industry recover from the COVID-19 crisis.
Steven Marshall, premier of South Australia (SA), announced on Sunday the 20-million-Australian dollar (14.5 million U.S. dollar) Tourism Industry Development Fund (TIDF), which he said would create 1,400 jobs in the industry.
Grants from the TIDF worth 20,000 Australian dollars (14,558 U.S. dollars) to 500,000 Australian dollars (363,950 U.S. dollars) will fund a maximum of 30 percent of a new project, such as a new tourism experience, visitor transport option or renovation.
The scheme will run until 2022 or until funds run out.
"There's no doubt the tourism industry is one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it's also one of the most innovative and creative," Marshall told reporters on Sunday.
"We want to ensure that regional tourism businesses are supported to improve and diversify their offering so they can remain sustainable, increase visitor demand, and have visitors linger for longer."
Australia's tourism industry has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic with international and domestic borders closed to prevent the spread of the virus.
According to Tourism Research Australia, SA had 630,000 fewer visitors in April this year than in the same month in 2019.
However, Marshall said there was a "silver lining" to the pandemic with South Australians forced to "explore their own backyard" rather than holiday overseas.
"People who have traditionally, in winter, travelled overseas are now saying, 'Well, look, let's make this an annual trip to outback South Australia or an annual trip to regional South Australia,'" he told reporters on Sunday.
"There's an uptick at the moment in terms of transactions in regional South Australia, but that could flow on to a permanent uptick." Enditem