Talking Tourism

Issue 612, June 11, 2020


Welcome to this week’s edition of Talking Tourism newsletter.

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Tourism Business Survival Grant Program opens

Tourism WA’s Tourism Business Survival Grant Program is now open for online applications to support tourism businesses that can demonstrate extreme hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants of $25,000 to $100,000 are available from a $4 million funding pool through a competitive application process. The program aims to ensure a viable tourism industry in Western Australia, enabling the survival of businesses that attract visitors to the State. Successful applicants can use the funding for a range of recovery costs including fixed costs and overheads, equipment deployment and activation, staff recruitment and training, reinstating supply-chain requirements and licenses and marketing activities. Full details about eligibility, the application process and what the funding can support is now available on our corporate website. A reminder that applications for the $6,500 grants from the Tourism Recovery Fund close tomorrow, Friday, June 12, 2020, at 6pm AWST. If you have been successful in receiving a grant from the Tourism Recovery Fund, you can still apply for a Business Survival Grant.


New five-star hotel to open in Margaret River

Margaret River's popularity as a world-class destination has been further boosted, with luxury hotel chain Marriott International announcing it will open the region's first five-star resort. The announcement of the Westin Margaret River Resort & Spa earlier this week demonstrates long-term confidence in WA from one of the world's largest hospitality organisations. The Westin Margaret River Resort & Spa will be located on the southern headland of Gnarabup Beach, and will include 120 guest rooms, on-site dining venues, and meeting and event space. The project is expected to create more than 300 jobs during construction, with more than 100 ongoing local jobs to be supported once it opens its doors in mid-2023. For more information, read the full story on our corporate website.


Changes for passenger transport drivers

Drivers with an F (bus or charter) or T (taxi) extension on their driver’s licence have 12 months from July 1 to move to the new passenger transport driver (PTD) authorisation. The new PTD authorisation is part of the on-demand transport industry reform introduced over the last two years to increase accountability and safety in the passenger transport industry. The driver authorisation change will affect drivers of fare-paying passengers as well as people who drive passengers as a primary part of their paid or volunteer job. This includes taxi, ride-share and charter drivers, tourism passenger drivers and bus drivers. To find out more visit the Department of Transport’s website.


FACET to host Our Story: The Spirit of Adventure webinar

The Forum Advocating Cultural and Eco-Tourism Inc (FACET) is hosting a webinar on how to leverage our new shared WA tourism story – the Spirit of Adventure. Learn first-hand from innovative operators who are integrating ‘Our Story’ into their product, including business planning, visitor servicing, interpretation and marketing. Tourism WA’s Executive Director, Strategy, Brand and Marketing Services, Mollie Hill, will join the discussion. The webinar will be held on Wednesday, June 24, 10.30am-12pm. For more details and to register visit the FACET website.


Funding for projects to support regional economic development

The South West Development Commission has created a series of grant writing tutorials to support applicants to prepare their funding submissions for round three of the Regional Economic Development Grants Program. The program is a $28.8 million (over five years) State Government initiative that invests in local projects to stimulate economic growth and development in regional WA. Each of the Regional Development Commissions manage the grant round process for their region and will provide advice to applicants during the application process. Funding is available for individual projects that contribute to sustainable jobs, expand or diversify industry, develop skills and capability, attract new investment or maximise recovery from COVID-19 impacts to the region. Applications close July 7, 2020.


Top trending WA destinations according to

With West Australians now able to travel throughout the majority of the State, recent Wotif data shows they have been quick to embrace domestic travel again, with a significant spike in interest for many WA destinations. According to the data, accommodation interest in Perth had increased by 110  per cent;  the South West by more than 675 per cent; Coral Coast by close to 570 per cent; the Golden Outback by almost 415 per cent; and the North West by close to 150 per cent, with Broome specifically showing an increase of 220 per cent. The figures were based on accommodation searches on from April 27 to May 24, 2020, compared to interest between March 30 and April 26, 2020.


West Australians invited to explore ‘Road Trip Country’

Following recent campaigns to promote the Goldfields and Wheatbelt, Australia’s Golden Outback has now launched a new region-wide campaign celebrating the numerous and diverse road trip experiences visitors can have when they wander out yonder through the ‘Road Trip Country’. The campaign is being promoted through channels such as videos, blogs, digital, social media and print, including a booklet showcasing 21 Epic Road Trips. See the campaign website here.


Chance to have your say on recovery planning

WA locals are encouraged to share their ideas on the State’s recovery through the WA Government’s online ideas platform iThink. The community can have their say on how to address the various challenges across a range of areas including health, economic and infrastructure. Find out more about the platform here or read more about other community engagement activities happening this month on the WA Government website.


Online Aussie Specialist training platform available

Tourism Australia is offering a local version of its Aussie Specialist Program. Australian travel agents are being provided access to a free online training platform to help them sell domestic tourism experiences. The initiative is a local version of Tourism Australia's international Aussie Specialist Program and has been designed to equip agents with relevant, up-to-date information and showcase new regions, destinations and experiences within Australia. It offers training modules, itinerary suggestions, fact sheets, industry news and monthly email updates. Click here to register.


COVID Clean module available

A national COVID-19 Clean Practising Business accreditation module is being offered through ATIC’s Quality Tourism online program. The COVID Clean accreditation module provides best practice standards for customers and bookings, staff management, materials and cleaning. The module develops customised daily, weekly and monthly cleaning checklists tailored to your business, to support your efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and provide confidence to visitors. Businesses that complete the module will receive a COVID Clean logo to display. The module is administered in WA by Tourism Council WA. For more information, contact Tourism Council WA.


COVID-19 Business Recovery Planning Tool

The COVID-19 Business Recovery Planning Tool, administered in WA by Tourism Council WA, is designed to support businesses to identify strategies on how they will respond to various stages of restrictions being lifted. The resulting Recovery Plan can be submitted as part of your application to the Tourism Recovery Fund. To access the planning tool, contact Tourism Council WA.


COVID hotline and FAQs

The WA Government COVID hotline helps answer questions West Australians have on the current COVID-19 State of Emergency. The hotline number is 13 26 842 (or 13COVID) and operates from 7am to 10pm every day. The hotline includes a range of options for callers, including pre-recorded information and direction to appropriate websites or call centres for specific information. Tourism WA also has a dedicated coronavirus webpage and FAQ document that is regularly updated with relevant industry information, contact numbers and links.