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Western Australia tourism devastated as visitors locked down

Western Australia tourism devastated as visitors locked down
August 12, 2021

Tourism Council WA has advised that the state’s tourism industry is facing its worst situation since the start of the pandemic, as, with potential visitors from across Australia locked down, business activity is down by 62% across the industry, the worst result since April 2020.

Advising that the industry needed support from the Federal and Western Australian Governments to retain the businesses that would enable the state to recover interstate, and eventually international, tourism, Tourism Council WA Chief Executive, Evan Hall stated “tourism businesses across WA are facing a cash flow crisis as the collapse of the interstate market has resulted in mass cancellations and a downturn in forward bookings. Businesses face reducing staff, assets, and capacity, and 31% of businesses report they will run out of cash in six months and risk closure.

“It is critical to retain this tourism product until interstate travel reliably opens at 70% to 80% vaccination rates under the National Plan.

“The Federal Government should extend income support to WA tourism businesses which are devastated because their guests are locked down on the east coast.

“We also call on the state government to waive or reduce the fees they collect from tourism businesses to assist alleviate this cash flow crisis, such as licence fees, rental fees, fixed service charges and taxes.”

The latest National Visitor Survey reveals the Western Australian tourism industry declined by more than half, or $4.3 billion, between March 2020 and March 2021. By comparison to 2020, there are no longer Federal and State Government supports such as JobKeeper, grants and fee waivers to alleviate the associated cash flow crisis.

Hall added “the impact of the current downturn has affected all sectors of the tourism industry, but it is most keenly felt by Perth tours, attractions and events, which report a 60 per cent reduction in business activity.

“As Perth is the primary destination for out-of-state visitors, it has been the most affected part of WA, with overall business activity declining by 72%.”

Image: Fremantle Harbour and the entry to Perth's Swan River.

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