The NSW Labor Opposition has branded a multi-million dollar tourism budget cut by the Liberal-National Government cut an act of sabotage that will hit regional tourism operators badly just as a tourism slump hits.

The Berejiklian-Barilaro Government has cut the annual budget for Destination NSW by $36 million or 20 per cent.

The cut comes just as recent figures show tourism is suffering an “acute slump” and is at its lowest in seven years.

NSW Treasury is warning of a looming risk to the economy posed by a slowdown in the Chinese visitor market.

In its commentary on last month’s state budget – headlined Risks to the Economic Outlook - the NSW Treasury wrote: “Adding to the trade risks is the possibility that China may seek to head-off a ballooning current account deficit by curtailing imports such as outbound tourism and international education.”

Yet Shadow Tourism Minister Jenny Aitchison says the State Government’s response to this looming crisis has been to cut the Destination NSW budget for a second year in a row.

Tourism is a significant jobs driver in NSW, with the industry generating $38 billion in spending.

“Government should be helping the tourism industry during this downturn not pulling funding from it.” Ms Aitchison said.

“It beggars belief that the Liberals can cut the budget for the second year in a row and not expect the impact to be felt.

“This is especially bad news when it comes to our goal of getting tourists to travel to regional NSW.”

“I heard the Deputy Premier in Dubbo recently talking about economic support for the regions, but his Tourism Minister is cutting tourism operators at the knees with two years of cuts to tourism funding.”

“Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres needs to get out of the Sydney bubble, go to regional NSW and justify his cuts to all of the regional tourism providers. The cuts are sabotaging their businesses and their communities - it’s as simple as that.”

Media contact: Jenny Aitchsion 0418 456 405

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