WA tourism businesses thrown $14m lifeline

The Western Australia government has launched a $14 million support package to help the state’s beleaguered tourism industry.

Eligible operators will be able to access grants of between $6500 and $100,000 to see them through the Covid-19 downturn.

The Tourism Recovery Fund would be made available for smaller businesses and for larger, “iconic” operators”, with up to 1600 smaller operators expected to be able to access the grants.

“It’s designed to ensure tourism businesses can continue to operate,” WA Premier Mark McGowan said. “They can rebirth and recover from what has gone on.

“We understand very much that tourism has borne the brunt of a lot of what has gone on over the course of the last couple of months.

“Ensuring that they can get back on their feet and operational as soon as possible is what this is about.”

McGowan said there would be a “special focus” on operators in regional areas which have hardest hit such as the Kimberley and the Goldfields.

“We don’t have line of sight as yet on when they can reopen, but that is something we are working on,” he said.

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said businesses will need to meet a range of criteria to be eligible for the grants.

“In only a few short months, WA tourism has gone from enjoying record international and interstate visitor numbers to a complete industry shutdown,” he said.

WA Tourism Council chief executive Evan Hall welcomed the package, calling it a “critical lifeline” for the industry.

“In the scenario we are in, it’s a really good, effective measure to help the tourism industry recover,” he said.

“These tourism businesses are … the ones that create the jobs and bring the visitor and tourism jobs to regional towns, so it’s absolutely critical that they keep going.”