Top News Australia’s tourism sector gets US$928m lifeline By TTG Asia / Posted on 12 March, 2021 14:03 The Australian government has rolled out a A$1.2 billion (US$928 million) tourism support package designed to boost domestic travel as its international borders remain closed due to the pandemic. The package includes airline ticket subsidies for travellers, cheap loans to small tourism businesses and financial support for the country’s two largest airlines, according to a Channel NewsAsia report. Australia’s latest tourism support package encourages domestic travellers to rediscover their backyard; a nearly empty Sydney Airport during the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020 pictured From April 1 until the end of July, the government will provide 50 per cent subsidies for 800,000 tickets on domestic flights to 13 destinations across the country that are heavily-reliant on foreign tourists. Qantas Airways and Virgin Australia will receive A$200 million in support from April to October to help with maintaining mothballed aircraft, bringing planes out of storage and wages for international flying staff, said the report. Qantas is targeting to restart some international flights by end-October, to coincide with the completion of Australia’s national Covid-19 immunisation drive. However, prime minister Scott Morrison has said that “it’s still a bit too early to say” when the country will reopen its international borders.