THIS WEEK'S ‘Freedom Day’ in New South Wales is a much-needed lifeline for both small and medium sized businesses and could be the catalyst to economic recovery across the state, according to Corporate Traveller General Manager Australia, Tom Walley.
A recent survey by the travel management company highlighted how resilient Melbourne and Sydney SMEs had been in lockdowns, with over a quarter not being impacted by lockdowns at all, while 53 per cent said they would focus on bouncing back when restrictions eased.
“Sydney is a main artery of the Australian economy and SME businesses will no doubt be a backbone of the inevitable recovery that’ll take place over coming months,” Mr Walley said.
“From our recent survey, it was incredibly promising to see that SMEs across Australia’s two major states, which have been hit hard by lockdowns and restrictions, will proactively build their businesses back up after lockdowns are eased and eventually abolished.
“The next major milestone will be when NSW hits 80 per cent double vaccinated as that is when intrastate travel will open – we’ve already seen a big uplift in both the number of searches and the number of booking for corporate travel towards the back-end of the year.
“From the conversations I’ve had with prospects and current customers, the pent-up demand to get back out there face-to-face and to pitch for new business is insatiable, with the passion for people getting on planes not being diminished by this global pandemic.”
According to the Statistical Snapshot Research Paper Series, 2019-20 by the Parliament of Australia – Department of Parliamentary Services, NSW recorded strong growth in small business employment between June 2013 and June 2018.
The research showed that the small business share of total private sector employment for the state sat at 46.1 per cent in June 2018, with small business employment growth of 13.3 per cent between 2013 and 2018.
“There’s no doubt that SMEs will lead the economic recovery across Australia as growth in both business sales and employee productively will bring direct benefits to the country’s bottom line,” Mr Walley said.
“In addition, business spending because of travel is good for local economies. A typical business trip will include spending on transport, restaurants, and hotels.
“It’s the simple things like stopping off at a local coffee cart for your morning caffeine fix or grabbing a bite to eat at a local franchise for lunch. I know from experience it tends to be the small things like this that really adds up and helps those businesses to flourish.
“At Corporate Traveller, we estimate the total business travel spend in Australia to be $25bn per year so when businesses can’t travel, that money isn’t flowing into the economy.”