David Templeman has been named as the new Tourism Minister for Western Australia after a landslide win by the re-elected McGowan Government.
Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall said he was looking forward to working with Templeman in “a very critical moment for the future of the industry”.
“The immediate challenge for the new Government and Tourism Minister is to sustain at-risk tourism businesses still struggling from the impact of the interstate border restrictions,” Hall said.
“It is critical that local tourism operators, whether it be tours, experiences, or accommodation, are supported and sustained until confidence in domestic travel across Australia returns, as many risk closure or mass job losses when JobKeeper ends next week.”
Hall said the Minister’s first task was to secure discounted direct flights to Perth.
“While regional hospitality and some tourism businesses are doing well, tours, attractions, and accommodation, particularly in Perth, are still struggling,” he said.
“Tens of thousands of tourism jobs in Perth are at risk due to the lack of both interstate and international visitors, and it is unfair that other capital cities such as Darwin, Adelaide, and Hobart have now been added to the list of discounted flights announced by the Federal Government, while Perth still misses out.
“We are calling on the new State Government to support these at-risk tourism businesses by ensuring Perth is included in the airfare scheme, so that the state can compete in the new domestic tourism market.”
Tourism Council WA has also called on the Federal Government to extend JobKeeper for all at-risk tourism businesses following the revelation that the major airlines have received a seven month extension of wage subsidies.
“It’s great that airlines are receiving this JobKeeper extension, but our CBD hotels, tour operators and world-class attractions are still struggling to survive as a result of the international border restrictions,” Hall said.
“Small tourism businesses need a seven-month JobKeeper extension as much as the airlines. Most tourism operators are sole traders and family businesses – the loss of JobKeeper means not only will their business close, but it will result in financial distress and loss of livelihood as well.
“Until international and interstate travel recovers, and confidence returns, we need to have direct ongoing financial support for these at-risk tourism businesses to retain businesses and jobs if the state hopes to compete in the new domestic tourism market.”