There have been bouquets and brickbats for the Federal Government’s tourism support package which will cut the price of 800,000 domestic flights to boost interstate travel.
From April, the government’s $1.2 billion plan will allow Australians to travel to 13 different locations that previously relied heavily on international tourism.
Out of the 13 locations, only Broome was selected for Western Australia, creating mixed reactions among the travelling public and the industry.
Tourism Council WA’s chief executive officer Evan Hall is disappointed with the Federal Government’s incentive.
“This is a devastating blow for Western Australian Tourism,” he said.
“A lot of people in Sydney or Melbourne now, instead of choosing Perth and Margaret River or Kununurra, are going to choose Surfer’s Paradise, or Cairns, or Launceston.”
WA Tourism Minister Paul Papalia has called out Canberra for not understanding the country’s needs.
“This announcement today confirms Canberra just does not know anything about Western Australia,” he said.
For those working in the aviation industry the perspective is quite the opposite with the prospect of more employment opportunities for flight attendants and travel agents.
Flight Centre public affairs manager Haydn Long sees this incentive as a positive move but warns the government needs to restore faith around interstate restrictions.
“It will deliver some cheap fares on selected routes and flights that should help stimulate demand, but it will be vitally important to governments to restore confidence that borders will stay open,” he said.
Mr Long said Flight Centre would offer for sale these domestic flights and that even though the discount will not be huge, it is a move in the right direction and is a positive for the industry.
Broome’s camel tour operator John Geappen also sees the tourism package in a positive light, believing it will become the right incentive to get people back to exploring the town.
“I think it will be an enormous incentive for people,” he said.
“I think [business] will just go through the roof with this idea. I think the tickets will get taken up pretty quickly. It will go mad.”
The packages are expected to go on sale for between April and July this year.