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New assistance grants announced for Western Australian tourism businesses impacted by COVID-19

New assistance grants announced for Western Australian tourism businesses impacted by COVID-19
August 22, 2021

Western Australian tourism businesses impacted by COVID-19 will soon be able to apply for funding support under a new joint Federal and State Government program valued at up to $16.8 million.

Eligible tourism businesses will be able to apply for grants of up to $10,000 to assist with some of the financial impacts resulting from much of the country being under significant COVID-19 restrictions in recent months.

Announcing the program today, it was suggested that around 3,500 businesses will be eligible for funding support under the program - including tourism operators, accommodation providers and travel agents.

Applicants must demonstrate at least a 30% reduction in turnover by comparing the period 15th May to 25th June with 10th July to 20th August to be eligible for support.

The following funding amounts will be made available to eligible businesses:

  • $2,000 grant for all sole traders and for employing businesses with an annual turnover between $50,000 and $100,000
  • $5,000 grant for employing businesses with an annual turnover between $100,000 and $1 million
  • $10,000 grant for employing businesses with an annual turnover between $1 million and $10 million

In order to be eligible, businesses must be:

  • Registered with Tourism WA as a previous grant recipient or as part of the agency's marketing campaigns in 2020 or 2021; or
  • A member of, or accredited through, a relevant tourism organisation (as of today); or
  • A travel agent that has been offering domestic product to travellers.
  • Businesses must also have an active and valid ABN and be located in Western Australia.

Announcing the funding, Western Australian Premier, Mark McGowan stated “we have great sympathy for the WA tourism businesses being directly impacted by the terrible situation in the Eastern States.

"The continued acceleration of community spread in many parts of the country - particularly New South Wales - is now so severe it is having impacts on some WA tourism businesses."

"Western Australia's work to keep COVID-19 largely out of the community has kept the State safe and open - enabling our tourism sector to operate in a way much of the world has been unable to over the past 18 months and fuelling an intrastate visitation boom."

"The Tourism Assistance Grants will provide targeted support to the Western Australian businesses which have become innocent victims of community spread over east, through no fault of their own."

Tourism Minister, Dan Tehan added "this is a very tough time for the Western Australian tourism industry with border closures and lockdowns restricting the ability of Australians and international visitors to travel.

"This welcome support from the Australian and West Australian Governments will provide financial support to help ensure the industry is ready to rebound as our nation eases restrictions as our vaccination rates hit key milestones."

Welcoming the funding, Tourism Council WA Chief Executive, Evan Hall stated “many tourism businesses are struggling due to the international and interstate borders and it is great to see Federal and State Governments working together to support the worst affected businesses

"Tourism businesses are bearing the financial cost of borders to protect public health. Today’s grant announcement recognises that support is only fair for those businesses doing it tough to protect the community.

“Tourism businesses across WA have seen a collapse of the interstate market due to the east coast lockdowns. Businesses face reducing staff and capacity, and 31% of businesses reported they will run out of cash in six months.

“The impact of the current downturn has affected all sectors of the tourism industry, but it is most keenly felt by tour operators and Perth accommodation.”

Today’s announcement follows a recent Tourism Council WA industry survey which showed one in three tourism businesses were facing a cash flow crisis.

Images: Cable Beach in Broome (top) and Perth's Swan River (below).

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