$1m aid ‘minuscule’
Vouchers for regional tours and experiences issued by the State Government this week could have a positive impact on the Capes region, but some business owners say it does not not go far enough.
In just four minutes, the public had quickly snapped up 10,000 $100 vouchers as part of the A million reasons to Wander out Yonder initiative — to be used for a range of attractions such as the Yallingup Maze and Whale Watching.
Jet Adventures director Peter Kalbfell said he thought the vouchers were a good idea but Government spending on the initiative was minimal.
“It will be successful, but only to a tiny extent. One million dollars is a minuscule spend ... the Government should be releasing around 100,000 vouchers if they are serious about this.”
The lesser $1 million worth of WA vouchers, compared to Tasmania’s $7.5 million and the Northern Territory’s $5.2 million for similar initiatives, has caused Capes businesses to suggest more rounds of the initiative were due until demand decreases.
Yallingup Maze general manager Mark Teasdale said the majority of businesses in the South West were coping well, but the main stress was still on a lack of workers.
“I have spoken to numerous business owners and they cannot get staff. A lot of businesses are or will not be running at full capacity as they are restricted in offering services due to limited staff numbers,” he said.
“The Government has done a great job in stimulating the economy, but they need to refine things and move more quickly.”
Vasse MLA Libby Mettam said she welcomed the support for the struggling tourism sector, but was also concerned the critical staff shortages would prevent increased demand being met.
“The Work and Wander out Yonder campaign has resulted in only 434 applications, with over 7000 vacancies in the regions,” she said.
A State Government spokesperson said early estimates had shown the initiative could inject up to four times the amount invested into WA’s tourism industry.
“States like Tasmania and the Northern Territory have such small tourism markets that they have no choice but to pay people to travel,” he said. “By contrast, the Wander out Yonder campaign has resulted in a regional tourism boom across the State.”
Busselton Jetty chief executive Lisa Shreeve welcomed the initiative after the Jetty recorded its first financial loss in more than 10 years, with a $1 million drop in ticket sales.
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