Border call backed
Capes major tourism providers are backing the State Government’s decision to maintain the “hard” State borders despite calls to establish a roadmap for when the State would be open to interstate tourists.
Tourism Council WA chief executive Evan Hall this week demanded a plan which included anticipated dates to open WA and enable the industry to take flexible bookings and retain jobs.
According to research by Lucid Economics, 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” Mr Hall said.
The calls come as major tourism providers in the South West enjoy a bookings boom and described the tourism environment as “business as usual”.
Bayview Geographe Resort general manager Mohamed Arthif said since the intrastate borders had opened the resort had a 100 per cent occupancy. “We are excited to have the interstate borders open which will provide a huge boost to the tourism industry but I don’t believe now is the right time,” he said.
“The last thing you want is a second wave. While we have a grip on the virus we have to ensure our guests are safe.”
However, a recent industry survey showed 34 per cent of tourism businesses were not viable without interstate visitors.
Vasse MLA Libby Mettam said tourism was the key driver for the local economy and many small businesses were suffering.
“Across regional WA $77 million a week is lost or one third of WA tourism jobs have been shut down,” she said.
“Our operators need to be able to compete with other states to help them survive beyond September when the Job Keeper subsidy finishes.”
A State Government spokesperson said the borders would “remain in place for the time being.” “It (hard borders) allows us to better protect the health of our citizens, and allows us to open up our economy to a far greater degree,” he said.
“The reason you wouldn’t open the border to the Northern Territory and South Australia is twofold. Firstly, you’d be relying upon their protection measures with their eastern borders, which may not be as good as ours.
“And secondly, you couldn’t open the borders to some states and not others because we would be discriminating one state against another, which would be against our legal advice.”
He said the Government would not put a timeframe on when the hard border would open.
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