Tourism troubles hit home

Many South-West businesses that rely on Easter holiday tourism are already taking a hit from regional travel bans according to Bunbury’s Retail Co president Cheryl Kozisek.

Ms Kozisek says these necessary COVID-19 bans will have dire consequences for a range of small businesses in the South-West region, especially those where Easter tourism is crucial. 

“There are some businesses that have probably just been hanging on because it’s been a really tough time and this could be the test for them,” she says. 

There are 30 major roadblocks to monitor the nine regions patrolled by WA Police, Army and SES officers with almost 13,000 people already having been checked since midnight Tuesday.

Ferguson Valley winery and restaurant Hackersely hosted a popular set Easter weekend menu which owner Adrie Devitt says is usually booked out, but not this year. 

“Always on the weekend, always very busy in the whole Valley, everyone is usually fully booked,” she says. 

“We have no job now basically, apart from selling the wine.” 

The Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association (MRBTA) Region manages seven tourism sites to generate revenue to offer visitor services and marketing for more than 700 members. 

Spokesperson Sophie Mathewson says while border restrictions are essential, government assistance must be provided to help those most affected.

“The fact that people are losing income over Easter is terrible, it’s devastating for the tourism industry but at the same time you have to think about the health of the region and coming out of this thing sooner rather than later.”

#PostponeDontCancel to keep the tourism economy going. Image: Supplied.

MRBTA chief executive officer and group manager of operations Steve Harrison says their main focus is to reinforce stay-at-home advice, process cancellations and postponements, and connect their members with assistance programs while promoting new or tailored services offered. 

South West local FIFO worker Bradley Cahill passed through the border separating Bunbury and Peel-Perth region.

He was required to show a Regional Border Travel Letter and a letter from his employer and says it was a quick process.

Roadblocks being set up near Lake Clifton. Image: Supplied.

A final message from Ms Kozisek on how you can help these businesses: