Tourism WA support network

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Tourism Minister Paul Papalia today announced an Industry Support Team for struggling tourism providers
Camera IconTourism Minister Paul Papalia today announced an Industry Support Team for struggling tourism providers Credit: Ross Swanborough/The West Australian, Ross Swanborough

Tourism Western Australia today established a special team offering support to members of the tourism industry during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The Industry Support Team was developed to offer support and information to WA tourism industry operators from people who understand the industry.

From Monday, the support team will call thousands of Western Australian tourism operators to check how they are coping, helping to navigate various State and Federal Government assistance packages, and offer a friendly voice to talk through recovery ideas for when the time is right.

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said the aim for the support team was to provide a friendly advice to tourism operators who were struggling.

“We know tourism operators are doing it tough at the moment, so we want them to know we're here for them,” he said.

“The new team will also provide an opportunity for industry to provide feedback on how they are dealing with this pandemic. Our aim is to work closely together with tourism industry operators through this challenging time to try to ensure the recovery phase goes as well as possible.”

Registered Accommodation Providers Margaret River Region spokeswoman Debbie Noonan praised Tourism WA and said the proactive initiative was a positive way for the government to survey businesses.

“They are asking us how many staff we have and how many we have had to let go and offering support. They’re really doing a wonderful job, they had stepped up prior to this and this is another level of support,” she said.

“Things have changed rapidly and as a business owner were just trying to keep our heads above water.”

Ms Noonan said she had spoken to City of Busselton mayor Grant Henley lobbying for a rates decrease as many tourism providers had no cashflow.

“We are all adapting to this ever changing beast. You’ve got to be ready for when it restarts and hit the ground running,” she said.

McLeod tours co-director Lincoln McLeod said he had shut down his business temporarily and many tour operators in the region would fold under mounting financial pressure.

We had forecasted for our best year ever and now it’s all gone,” he said.

“Our big this is how long will the regional border closure last and if its closed for over six months I’m just hoping that when we come out the other side people will still be willing to holiday.”

“We need the State Government to encourage people to travel within Australia after this. There has to be initiatives to stimulate our industry.”

The Industry Support Team includes members of Tourism WA's stakeholder relations, public relations, markets, and destination development groups who will attempt to address these issues.

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