Event sector support still needed in WA as border reopens after two years

Western Australia has officially reopened its border two years after Premier Mark McGowan declared the state to be an “island within an island”.

From today though, visitors both interstate and international will be allowed back into the state on condition they are triple vaccinated, undertake a Rapid Antigen Test upon arrival within 12 hours and have a registered G2G Pass.

The announcement was welcomed by Tourism Council WA, which said it was a positive step forward for tourism.

“Tourism operators are ready for visitors to return today, but the financial cost and loss of staff will not be quickly or easily overcome,” said Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall.

“Since the onset of border restrictions in January 2020, $4 billion has been wiped from the $12 billion WA tourism industry, with 20,000 tourism jobs lost and countless lives disrupted.”

Hall said the border delays and uncertainty had caused many events to be cancelled indefinitely. As a result, the border opening had not brought a flood of bookings to the decimated industry.

“Event venues and attractions are still being impacted by level 2 restrictions and the businesses that are suffering due to these restrictions will require support,” Hall said.

An opinion poll commission by Tourism Council WA showed 75 per cent of respondents agreed that businesses disrupted by COVID-19 restrictions should receive financial support from the State Government.

The poll also found 69 per cent of Western Australians called for the State Government to invest in the aviation, tourism, and events sectors to recover jobs, business, and economic diversity once the borders opened.

“It is going to take time and support for the industry to recover the jobs lost, reputations damaged, and economic diversity,” Hall said.