WA hard border leaves Mandurah tourism businesses struggling

Mandurah Cruises director Myrianthe Riddy and WA Tourism Minister David Templeman say parts of the tourism industry are under pressure. Photos: Visit Mandurah, Supplied.
Mandurah Cruises director Myrianthe Riddy and WA Tourism Minister David Templeman say parts of the tourism industry are under pressure. Photos: Visit Mandurah, Supplied.

The state's hard border with NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia following outbreaks of the Delta variant has come as a blow to the WA tourism industry.

According to the Tourism Council WA, business activity is down by 62 per cent, the worst result since early in the pandemic.

Mandurah Cruises is just one of the tourism businesses impacted by the border closures as it relies on interstate travellers during winter.

There is absolutely a need to support the industry because basically we're back where we were a year ago but last year we had JobKeeper and this year we don't.

Mandurah Cruises director Myrianthe Riddy

Mandurah Cruises director Myrianthe Riddy said locals weren't as likely to book in during the winter months.

"When borders were fully open in the winter months it was as busy for us as summer because we had so many guests from the northern hemisphere," she said.

"If you're coming from interstate you've only got a short amount of time to spend in WA and if you're coming to Mandurah you're going to do the activities you've booked come hell or high water.

"While WA locals don't usually come in winter because they live in the state so they can come to Mandurah at any time of the year.

"Locals are extremely supportive but the propensity for them to come out in winter is low, which is understandable."

Ms Riddy said it had been particularly difficult for Perth and metropolitan based businesses this winter.

"We only have a domestic market at the moment and the majority of people in Perth tend to holiday in the regions because it's further away from their house," she said.

"So it's been particularly hard on Perth and metropolitan based businesses like ours."

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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.

With interstate travellers locked out, the WA Tourism 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 to alleviate the "cash flow crisis".

"The federal government should extend income support to WA tourism businesses which are devastated because their guests are locked down on the east coast," chief executive Evan Hall said.

Ms Riddy and Mr Templeman agreed the federal government needed to include WA in any financial support provided to tourism in other states.

"I see support happening for other states. When you look at those examples you would hope that our government might take the lead and help out WA," Ms Riddy said.

"There is absolutely a need to support the industry because basically we're back where we were a year ago.

"But last year we had JobKeeper and this year we don't."