Roadmap to Open Interstate Borders Needed

17 June 2020

Tourism Council WA is calling on the Commonwealth and State Governments to establish a clear roadmap with anticipated dates for welcoming interstate visitors back to WA and recommencing business, cultural and sporting events. 

A roadmap with anticipated dates will enable the WA tourism industry to take flexible bookings and retain jobs and allow for large-scale events to be scheduled.

“Each day without interstate visitors, Western Australia loses 42 jobs,” Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall said.

“A roadmap with a tentative date will give tourism businesses time to take bookings and give our venues time to program in events.”

New research by Lucid Economics shows that interstate visitors spend more than twice as much per trip than intrastate visitors, generating $1.8 billion in gross state product and more than $160 million in payroll tax and GST revenue for the State Government in 2019. 

“Interstate visitors are critical to the WA tourism industry, because they stay longer, travel further, and spend twice as much as intrastate visitors. Without interstate visitors, tour operators, attractions and regional hospitality businesses and their employees are at risk,” Mr Hall said.

“Critical to attracting interstate visitors are business, cultural and sporting events – these are powerful motivators for interstate travel but need time to be secured.”

A recent industry survey showed 34 per cent of tourism businesses were not viable without interstate visitors. A majority of businesses surveyed wanted an anticipated date for removing interstate travel restrictions. 

“Without an anticipated date we will lose valuable interstate visitors to other States because we could not take bookings while they could,” Mr Hall said.

“We don’t want to be in the position of the borders opening and finding we have few visitors because we can’t take bookings now.”

The tourism industry understands that the State Government will open the interstate border based on health advice, however a roadmap with an anticipated date will allow businesses to take bookings.

“While it is well understood that health advice may change and as such, the date may change, we would rather take the risk of having to cancel a booking or event than to miss out altogether,” Mr Hall said.