'Losing 42 jobs a day': Tourism Council WA calls on state government to announce date for border reopening

Photo: Tourism Council WA/Wendy Martin.
Photo: Tourism Council WA/Wendy Martin.

"Each day without interstate visitors, Western Australia loses 42 jobs."

Those are the statistics Tourism Council WA chief executive Evan Hall quoted, as the organisation pleads with the state government to announce a date for the interstate borders to reopen.

A recent industry survey showed 34 per cent of tourism businesses were not viable without interstate visitors, while a majority of businesses surveyed wanted an anticipated date for removing domestic travel restrictions.

Tourism Council WA is calling for a clear roadmap with anticipated dates for welcoming visitors back to WA and recommencing business, cultural and sporting events.

Mr Hall said this would enable the industry to start taking bookings, planning for the future and retain jobs.

"Without an anticipated date we will lose valuable interstate visitors to other states because we could not take bookings while they could," he said.

"We don't want to be in the position of the borders opening and finding we have few visitors because we can't take bookings now."

Interstate visitors spend more than twice as much per trip than intrastate visitors, new research has found.

In 2019, they generated $1.8 billion in gross state product and more than $160 million in payroll tax and GST revenue for the state government.

"Interstate visitors are critical to the WA tourism industry, because they stay longer, travel further, and spend twice as much as intrastate visitors," Mr Hall said.

"Critical to attracting interstate visitors are business, cultural and sporting events - these are powerful motivators for interstate travel but need time to be secured.

"Without interstate visitors, tour operators, attractions and regional hospitality businesses and their employees are at risk."

Mr Hall said the industry was well aware that the state government would open the border based on health advice, an anticipated date would at least allow businesses to plan for the future.

"While it is well understood that health advice may change and as such the date may change, we would rather take the risk of having to cancel a booking or event than to miss out altogether," he said.