11 March 2021
Today’s announcement by the Federal Government of discounted airfares does not support WA tourism businesses devastated by ongoing border closures and traveller uncertainty.
Tourism Council WA Chief Executive Officer Evan Hall said the package would not help the businesses and jobs most severely impacted, and discounted airfares targeting marginal east coast electorates will draw visitors and jobs away from WA.
The discounted airfares announced as part of the package apply to just one WA destination, Broome, compared with five in Queensland and three in Tasmania.
“Not only are WA destinations such as Kununurra, Busselton and Perth excluded from the Federal package, these WA destinations will lose more visitors and jobs as tourists opt to holiday in Queensland and Tasmania instead through discounted flights,” Mr Hall said.
Mr Hall said one in five tourism operators risked closing their doors when JobKeeper, rent freezes, and loan deferrals ended in March, so continued financial assistance was critical to retaining those tourism businesses and jobs until domestic travel returns as vaccines were rolled out and consumer confidence improves.
“Tourism businesses have been postponing job cuts in the hope that State and Federal Governments will provide some assistance until interstate and international tourism recovers. Sadly, we expect workers will now start getting termination notices that their job will cease with the end of JobKeeper.
“The businesses and jobs worst hit are in Perth and the other capital cities which are the gateways for international and interstate travel. The Federal and State Governments have ignored businesses and jobs that most need support.”
Mr Hall said the Federal package was aimed at marginal regional electorates on the east coast and failed to assist most tourism businesses and jobs that were still on JobKeeper due to border restrictions and uncertainty.
“WA tourism businesses need real support, not pork barrelling for Queensland and Tasmania,” he said.
“We urge the Federal and State Governments to provide direct support to all those businesses which are still facing a significant downturn due to interstate and international border restrictions and uncertainty.”
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