New financial assistance to replace JobKeeper is required to sustain tourism businesses and jobs, as the latest official visitor statistics show WA domestic tourism declined by $2.6 billion, or 40 percent, from March to November 2020.
The latest National Visitor Survey from Tourism Research Australia reveals that from the start of interstate and intrastate travel restrictions in March 2020 up until November, intrastate visitor spending in WA declined by $860 million and interstate visitor spending was down $1,780 million.
These figures do not include the $1.7 billion estimated loss from international tourism due to border closures.
Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall said around a third of tourism businesses were still on JobKeeper and needed support beyond the end of March to keep operating.
“The industry faces major business closures and job losses when JobKeeper payments, rent freezes and loan deferrals end in March,” he said.
“We are calling on the Federal and State Governments to replace JobKeeper with new financial assistance to retain tourism businesses and jobs until domestic tourism returns as travel restrictions ease and vaccines are rolled out.
“It is imperative these businesses continue operating so Western Australia can retain the tourism product needed to attract visitors when travel restrictions ease.”
Mr Hall said that while the official figures showed WA local tourism grew in the July, September and October school holiday months, overall domestic tourism was down 40 per cent.
“The latest official figures showed WA domestic tourism lost $224 million in November alone and a total of $2.6 billion since domestic travel restrictions started in March,” he said.
“Since these November results there have been Christmas border closures, lockdowns and regional travel restrictions.
“We are coming up to a year of international and interstate travel restrictions which have taken a huge toll on many tourism operators.”