$4 billion loss from tourism not easily overcome

WA government called on to invest in job recovery, business and economic diversity

Tourism Council WA (TCWA) says while the government’s decision to finally lift border restrictions is a positive step, the reverberations from two years of being cut off from the rest of the world will continue to be felt by the state’s decimated tourism sector for quite some time.

According to newly-released figures, some $4 billion has been wiped from the WA’s $12 billion tourism industry, with 20,000 tourism jobs lost and countless lives disrupted since the onset of border restrictions in January 2020,

Tourism Council WA CEO, Evan Hall said tourism operators are ready for visitors to return today, but the financial cost and loss of staff will not be quickly or easily overcome.

Mr Hall said the border delays and uncertainty had caused many events and holiday trips to be cancelled indefinitely.

As a result, the border opening had not brought a flood of bookings to the decimated industry.

“Event venues and attractions are still being impacted by level 2 restrictions and the businesses that are suffering due to these restrictions will require support,” Mr Hall said.

An opinion poll commissioned by Tourism Council WA shows Western Australians want to see the State Government supply support packages for the tourism industry.”

The poll, Mr Hall said, found 75 percent of respondents agreed that businesses disrupted by COVID-19 restrictions should receive financial support from the State Government.

Mr Hall said the border opening did not reduce the need for investment in aviation, tourism, and events.

In the poll, 69 percent of Western Australians called for the State Government to invest in these areas to recover jobs, business, and economic diversity.

“It is going to take time and support for the industry to recover the jobs lost, reputations damaged, and economic diversity,” Mr Hall said.

“Tourism Council WA is calling on a sizable support package where all businesses that have suffered financial loss are clearly eligible for funding.”

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