The State Government has announced a $14.4 million tourism recovery fund for businesses across WA following the industry losing billions of dollars.
Tourism Council WA has labelled this fund a ‘lifeline’ for many of WA’s small tourism businesses that have been struggling due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
The tourism industry has lost six months’ worth of bookings, an estimated 30,000 jobs and more than $3.1 billion.
Tourism Council WA’s chief executive Evan Hall believes the recovery package is more than necessary in order for businesses to remain afloat and circulate employment.
“We need tourism businesses to survive so that they can start operations and create local jobs when Western Australians begin travelling within the state once again,” Mr Hall says.
To be eligible for the cash grant, businesses must be a member of a regional tourism organisation, Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council or part of a recognised accreditation program.
WAITOC representative Diane Delow says WA’s tourism industry is comprised of small business enterprises and therefore the funding is essential.
“It provides support for their business which currently isn’t running due to zero tourists,” she says.
“It’s the same across the board, whether it’s an indigenous or a non-indigenous tourism operator, everyone is struggling.”
Owner and managing director of Adventure Wild Kimberley Tours Simone Kapiteyn says her business hasn’t been able to operate and plans for this year have been destroyed.
“We had intentions of buying the property that we commercially lease, we intended to pay out a vehicle lease based on budget and forecast of anticipated earnings and that’s just been shut down completely,” she says.
Adventure Wild Kimberley Tours is eligible for the $6500 grant and Ms Kapiteyn believes any money for the business will be useful.
Caravan Industry Association WA chief executive Craig Kenyon also believes that the tourism sector across WA needs assistance and sees the fund as a step forward for those who can receive the grant.
“The ones that are eligible will see it as an opportunity to get a little bit of additional cash into their business, but some of our operators have lost hundreds of thousands,” Mr Kenyon says.
“Those parks are looking now to try and reinvigorate their businesses and get into a position where they can recover as quickly as possible.
“Some of them are operating between zero and 20 per cent and you can’t run a business on that long term.”
However, Mr Kenyon has concerns for those who aren’t eligible for the grant.
Mr Kenyon believes WA tourism will survive this pandemic and that the caravan industry may be one of the first to come out of it.
“It’s a great opportunity for the sector to give people a really great experience because there are some amazing places within our state that it would be great if more people could go and see,” he says.
For more information about the Tourism Recovery Fund Package click here.
To apply for the Tourism Recovery Fund Package click here.