WA tourism industry sees biggest drop in activity since pandemic started

The WA tourism industry is facing its worst situation since the start of the pandemic, with business activity down by 62 per cent across the industry, the worst result since April last year.

Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall said the industry needed support from the Federal and State Governments to retain the businesses that would enable WA to recover interstate, and eventually international, tourism.

“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,” he said.

“Businesses face reducing staff, assets, and capacity, and 31 per cent of businesses report they will run out of cash in six months and risk closure.”

Hall said the support was critical to retain this tourism product until interstate travel reliably opens after the country reaches the required 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,” he said.

“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 WA tourism industry declined by more than half, or $4.3 billion, between March 2020 and March 2021.

“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,” Hall said.

“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 per cent.”