The tourism industry is expected to see mass closures in the South West when JobKeeper ends next month if new financial assistance is not urgently put in place, according to operators in the region. Calls for help from tour businesses amplified at the beginning of the year after a $2.6 billion decline was revealed for tourism in WA between March and November. It comes as Premier Mark McGowan pledged $217 million for more tourism infrastructure, with an Aboriginal Cultural Centre and an Aboriginal Tourism Fund at the forefront of the plan. Tourism Research Australia’s latest national visitor survey recorded the 40 per cent decline, unsurprisingly highlighting international tourism as the State’s biggest impact with an estimated $1.7 billion loss. Vasse MLA Liby Mettam said other States in Australia had received assistance packages of up to $10,000 and it was time the McGowan Government did the same. “The Federal Government did the heavy lifting with JobKeeper and JobSeeker and it is now up to the State Government to step in and support these businesses,” she said. Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association co-chief executive Sharna Kearney said she was frustrated at decision makers who “seem to think tourism is booming”. “There is a significant risk that we will lose a number of the region’s flagship tourism products, which will be simply unable to hang on until interstate and international tourism returns,” she said. Restrictions on interstate, international and domestic travel because of the pandemic have caused a $860 million decrease in intrastate spending and a $1780 million decrease in interstate. “With the regional economy relying heavily on tourism, we cannot afford to be complacent about the impact of JobKeeper ending,” Ms Kearney said. She said last year the Shire of Augusta Margaret River was ranked as having the fifth highest number of Job Keeper applications in Australia. The Busselton Jetty is just one of the many tour businesses heavily reliant on interstate and international markets and chief executive Lisa Shreeve said the tourism giant had recorded a $2m decline since March. “The jetty team have been working tirelessly throughout summer with new tours and marquee events to put aside money for winter 2021,” Ms Shreeve said.