Tourism businesses in the state’s south-west are getting ready to welcome thousands of holidaymakers after the re-opening of WA’s regional borders on Monday.
Laura Giumelli manages the family-run Ferguson Falls Winery Café, an award-winning establishment in the heart of wine territory in the Ferguson Valley.
Forced to close due to state-imposed restrictions during the lockdown, the café will be re-opening this weekend, and Mrs Giumelli is looking forward to the challenges it will present.
“Our business base really is the tourists coming from Perth, from all over the place actually, Singapore, China,” she says.
“I do plan on an influx. For the square metre rule, we can only serve 15 people unless it’s a sunny day out, so while we’re happy that we get to open up again it’s going to be interesting.”
A statement released by the Tourism Council of Western Australia last month shows tourism businesses across the state lost more than 30,000 jobs and $3.1 billion due to approximately six months’ worth of bookings being cancelled.
With travellers unable to go north due to regional borders remaining in place between Perth and the mid-west, caravan parks across the south-west are also looking forward to making up for lost business over the next few months.
Southern Stars Holiday Park is a family-run caravan park operating out of Dunsborough which had a mass cancellation of bookings over the Easter and school holiday periods, but is ready for a high level of customers this weekend.
Natalie McCarthy, who owns and runs the business with her husband Todd Davidson, says the loss of income which normally got them through winter was difficult, but they are looking forward to treating travellers to their caravan site over the coming weeks.
“On that Sunday morning when they announced that Perth could now travel to the South West, the long weekend next week filled up, the phones went crazy,” she says.
With this weekend also booked to near full occupancy, the holiday park is experiencing a lot more traffic than normal for this time of year, but McCarthy says it’s only a matter of time before other borders open and tourists look elsewhere.