One in five WA tourism businesses face closure or major job losses due to border uncertainty if JobKeeper expires at the end of March, according to Tourism Council WA’s latest survey.
The survey reveals the industry has copped mass cancellations from interstate guests since Christmas due to border uncertainty, and forward bookings are down 35 per cent.
“Attractions, aviation, bus companies, tours and Perth hotels have been hit hard by border uncertainty,” Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall said.
“Without bookings or JobKeeper support many of these businesses which cater to out-of-state visitors face job losses and closure.”
The survey shows there is a two-speed tourism industry in WA where locals are leaving Perth to holiday in the regions, but few visitors are spending time or dollars coming to Perth. Overall regional accommodation businesses are up 45 per cent, but Perth accommodation and tourism businesses are down 50 per cent.
“The businesses which are bearing the cost of the travel restrictions needed to protect public health should be supported, not abandoned,” Hall said.
“These are good, long-term tourism businesses which are in financial distress through no fault of their own. We need these businesses to survive so we can recover our international and interstate visitors when travel resumes.”
Hall said it was critical that the Federal Government extends JobKeeper for at-risk businesses until international travel can safely resume.
“The State Government did a great job supporting tourism businesses when the crisis first hit,” he said.
“But after almost a year without tourists to WA the tourism industry needs help targeted to those businesses carrying the cost of border uncertainty.
“This could include further relief on land tax, government rent, water charges and licence fees, alongside a second round of survival grants.”