Border closures dent WA tourism activity

WA Tourism Minister David Templeman acknowledges parts of the industry are under pressure.
WA Tourism Minister David Templeman acknowledges parts of the industry are under pressure.

Western Australia's premier insists tourism is thriving within the state's closed borders despite the industry reporting mass cancellations.

Business activity is down by 62 per cent, the worst result since early in the coronavirus pandemic, the Tourism Council WA says.

Chief executive Evan Hall says the collapse of interstate travel has left WA tourism businesses facing a "cash-flow crisis".

"Businesses face reducing staff, assets, and capacity, and 31 per cent of businesses report they will run out of cash in six months and risk closure," he said on Wednesday.

"It is critical to retain this tourism product until interstate travel reliably opens at 70 per cent - 80 per cent vaccination rates under the national plan."

The council is calling for federal income support to help prop up struggling tourism businesses.

It also wants the state government to waive or reduce fees and taxes.

WA's borders are closed to all of NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia following outbreaks of the highly infectious Delta variant.

Premier Mark McGowan said tourism had thrived during the pandemic as West Australians took the opportunity to explore their own state.

"Try getting a booking out there - it's very, very difficult to get a booking," he told reporters.

"The reality is we're trying to avoid COVID coming into Western Australia, so therefore we have borders to the east, we have international borders and it's far better to be in our position than the position NSW is in."

Tourism Minister David Templeman acknowledged parts of the industry were under pressure because they had relied upon overseas and interstate visitors.

"But our focus has always been on keeping this state safe, and that means that people can move freely throughout the state," he said.

Mr Templeman said the federal government needed to include WA in any financial support provided to tourism in other states.

WA recorded no new cases on Wednesday.

With NSW reporting 344 new locally acquired cases, Mr McGowan said it was unlikely West Australians would be allowed to reunite with loved ones in NSW until both states had at least 70 per cent of their populations vaccinated.

"It's very sad for people with family members in NSW, particularly if you've got elderly parents, that you can't go and see them," he said.

"Like many people, I'm in that position. That's why for all our sakes ... NSW needs to get on top of this."

WA has vaccinated just under 21 per cent of its adult population.

It's hoped the number will increase significantly in coming weeks with bookings having been reopened for West Australians aged in their 30s.

Mr McGowan said WA could potentially further tighten its hard border to NSW, which already locks out the vast majority of travellers.

Australian Associated Press