More than 5,600 accommodation jobs have gone in six months due in part to the Rudd government's neglect of the tourism industry, said Steven Ciobo, Shadow Minister for Small Business, Independent Contractors, Tourism and the Arts. Ciobo cited the recent results from a Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) survey that revealed the loss of more than 5,600 jobs in the accommodation sector between September 2008 and March 2009. "The Labor Government has pretended to be a friend of tourism, but instead, has shown complete disregard for one of Australia’s biggest employers and economic powerhouses," he said. Ciobo says the government's increase to tourist visa charges and its new industrial relations regime could pose a threat to an already fragile industry. "Only two months ago, the TTF warned the global recession and our softer tourism numbers could force hotels to shut whole floors of their properties. New wage demands on these businesses and possible industrial disruption will only serve to increase that pressure on the sector," he noted.