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Australia’s ski industry under threat after second winter of COVID-19 lockdowns
After two consecutive winters with limited domestic trade and no international tourists, reports suggest that Australia's snow industry is on the brink of collapse.
Snowsports Industries Australia (SIA) Chairman Edward Fortey believes the entire industry is under threat - from small city retailers to accommodation providers and large resorts - telling the ABC “there has been a closure of nearly two years … our members have gone through their second winter as essentially a non-event
"We are pretty resilient … but it is an impossible task to ask them to survive … there are going to be some casualties, unfortunately."
While support has been provided to some parts of the industry, National Retailers Association (NRA) Chief Executive, Dominique Lamb said support modelling had been based around geography and failed to acknowledge the national network that made up the entire industry.
Lamb advised "we need it to be broadened to anyone who is operating a business, including manufacturing, specifically for the snow industry, so it's not just if you are in a region," Ms Lamb said.
The NRA and SIA are calling on the Federal Government to view the snow industry on the same level as the aviation sector - with a package similar to the Tourism Aviation Network Support Program.
They also want the NSW government to develop an Alpine Resorts Winter Support package, and the Victorian Government to broaden its current program to include all off-mountain providers.
Advising that such changes would ensure non-mountain-based businesses were lifted out of a potential collapse, Lamb noted “ultimately, we need to have our state governments take a look at this because we know that there are tens of thousands of regional jobs at stake
Adding to the problem was the seasonal nature of the snow industry, causing a lengthy wait until regular operations returned.
Fortey went on to say "when we come out of lockdown … they will have no trade because the winter has passed. So that leaves them with nine months waiting for the next time for them to start welcoming people back into their stores.”
Ritchie said unless there was an immediate policy change, the situation would remain dire, adding “there are going to be a lot [of businesses] who won't be there [next winter season], so as people are heading to the snow next year they're going to have a lot less choice unless we do something to save them and we've got to do it now.”
While Victoria’s winter resorts are open to visitors from most parts of regional Victoria, NSW’s resorts remain closed.
The industry contributes an estimated $2 billion to the economy annually and employs around 20,000 people.
Image: Perisher on what was the opening days of the 2021 snow season.
9th September 2021 - Carlile Swimming mandates staff vaccination
24th August 2021 - Lockdowns see closure of all ski resorts in Australia and New Zealand
10th August 2021 - Mt Buller reopens for snow lovers from regional Victoria
28th July 2021 - Falls Creek and Hotham resorts reopen and welcome guests back
7th July 2021 - Pause in trans-Tasman travel bubble hits New Zealand tourism
6th July 2021 - Fine weather marks start of Winter Season at Mt Ruapehu
4th June 2021 - Vail Resorts opens Perisher early for 2021 snow season
13th September 2020 - COVID-19’s ‘devastating impact’ on the Australian ski industry
16th July 2020 - Victoria’s Mt Buller advises of ongoing ski operations
11th May 2020 - Australian Ski Resorts launch Keep Our Season Safe Campaign
27th March 2020 - Doubts over Australian ski season as Coronavirus restrictions impact
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