As other states and territories reopen their borders to Victoria, the Tourism Council has warned WA must not be the last state to open to Victorians as it could affect local tourism operators well into next year.
- Victoria is WA’s biggest interstate tourism market
- There are concerns the state’s ongoing border with VIC will hurt tourism
- The Tourism Council says people will simply choose to holiday elsewhere
Both New South Wales and the ACT allowed quarantine-free travel with Victoria on Monday, while other jurisdictions are set to do the same within days.
The WA Government says it will not be “rushed” to reopen the borders and will seek further health advice once Victoria reaches 28 days of no community spread, which could be as early as this Friday.
Tourism Council chief executive Evan Hall said if WA did not open soon, Victorians would book their summer holidays and 2021 trips elsewhere, if they had not already done so.
“If we are the last to open our borders to Victoria, we will lose visitors and working holiday-makers to other states because we could not take bookings while they could,” Mr Hall said.
“34 per cent of Western Australia’s interstate visitors come from Victoria, significantly more than any other state,” he said.
According to the Tourism Council, Perth-based tourism and hospitality operators were finding the restricted travel with Victoria particularly tough, given the “vast majority” of Victorian visitors stay overnight in the city.
WA to miss out on holiday travel
Segway Tours WA is one of those businesses that relies heavily on the Victorian market.
“We’ve been surviving on probably 18 per cent of our normal market,” director Belinda Hill said.
“Victoria and New South Wales are the largest markets that we have and those borders are not open [without quarantine] yet so it affects us dramatically.”
Travellers from other states and territories, except South Australia and NSW, can enter WA without having to complete mandatory quarantine.
While the delay of a few weeks might not seem like a major difference, she said the problem was other states and territories were moving quicker.
“The trouble is people are making their holiday plans now,” Ms Hill said.
“The other states have opened their borders and therefore … instead of dreaming about the holiday, they’re actually booking their holidays.”
Decision won’t be rushed, Premier says
WA Premier Mark McGowan has said he would not be rushed into removing mandatory quarantine requirements for Victorian and New South Wales arrivals.
He said they would remain for the “foreseeable future” until new health advice was received.
“If it means we have to delay a week or two or three, well then we will,” he said.
Despite both states being on track to reach 28 days of no COVID-19 community transmission, Mr McGowan said that was not the only consideration.
He said sewage testing, the COVID-19 testing regimes of other states, and their border arrangements would all be factors.
“We’re not going to make rushed decisions on this,” he said.
QR code to be announced this week
Meanwhile, the WA Government said it would make an announcement on a QR code for hospitality businesses this week, to help with contact tracing should it be required because of an outbreak.
Health Minister Roger Cook’s office said the app was with Apple and Google to load onto their systems and would soon be available for venues such as cafes and restaurants to use for contact registers, should they choose.
It is expected the electronic check-in system would operate similarly to those already used in other states and territories.