Talking Tourism

Issue 601, March 26, 2020


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

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A message from all of us at Tourism WA

Hello everyone


The impact of COVID-19 has been swift and much has changed since our last edition of Talking Tourism. At Tourism WA, we’re aiming to keep you up to date with the ramifications of these developments on the industry, and our FAQs are being updated regularly.


A new initiative born out of these circumstances has seen Western Australia’s five Regional Tourism Organisations, Tourism Council WA, the Australian Hotels Association (WA), Business Events Perth, Australian Tourism Export Council, Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council, Caravan Industry Association WA and Wines of WA virtually meet with Tourism WA this week to discuss working together to support industry.


A team will be established within Tourism WA to work with partners to support tourism operators. More details will be available next week. This is one of a range of measures Tourism WA is working on to ensure we have a sustainable industry in the future.


As we work together in these challenging times, we encourage readers to make use of the services and support outlined in this edition of Talking Tourism.


Financial support and advice for tourism businesses

The Small Business Development Corporation has established a COVID-19 assistance centre to provide advice and guidance on managing the impacts of COVID-19, including financial support. The service can be accessed by contacting 133 140 from 8.30am to 4.30pm weekdays, or visiting the SBDC website. Read more in the Small Business Minister’s media statement.This is in addition to the State Government’s $114 million support measures for small and medium businesses. The Australian Government’s is also providing a business hotline for small and medium businesses impacted by COVID-19. The contact centre can be reached on 13 28 46 and will run seven days a week, including additional hours for the first month. More information is available here.


Tourism Australia to host weekly webinars

Tourism Australia will host weekly webinars every Friday to keep industry connected and informed, and help businesses navigate through the current crisis. The webinars will feature the most up-to-date information direct from the relevant experts. The first webinar will be held on Friday, March 27 at 11am (AEDT) and will feature the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham, who will give an update on the situation as relevant to the tourism sector, from a Federal Government perspective. A senior health official will also provide further clarity, and Managing Director of Tourism Australia, Phillipa Harrison, will provide information on what Tourism Australia is doing. Spaces are limited, so please register here.


Stay up-to-date with the latest news on Facebook

WA’s five Regional Tourism Organisations, as well as Tourism Council WA, WA Indigenous Tourism Operators Council (WAITOC) and Australia’s Hotel Association WA have created Facebook group pages for their members to connect and stay up-to-date with the latest information during this challenging time. Members are encouraged to sign up via these links – Australia’s South West Member Industry Community, Australia's Golden Outback Members Group, Destination Perth Members, Australia’s Coral Coast Members Group, Australia’s North West Members Group, WAITOC Members, and  Tourism Council Western Australia Member Forum.


Request to event holders to update listings

Due to public health advice surrounding COVID-19, event organisers may be required to cancel or postpone upcoming events in Western Australia. If you have made the decision to cancel or postpone your event, we would like to remind you to please update your listing on the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse website accordingly, so that visitors are receiving accurate information on websites such as and If you require support or assistance email


City of Perth relief and rebound plan

City of Perth has released its Relief and Rebound Plan, to provide support for businesses, ratepayers and visitors, in the wake of COVID-19. This includes initiatives such as free one-hour parking, suspension of lease and rental payments for tenants, accelerated capital works projects and full refunds on all cancelled bookings at city properties or facilities. All of these initiatives are subject to ratification at next Tuesday’s Council Meeting but will be implemented immediately. For more information watch the video.


Ban on Australians travelling overseas

The Federal Government announced on March 24 it would implement a ‘do not travel’ ban on Australians travelling overseas under the Biosecurity Act 2015. This will help avoid travellers returning to Australia with coronavirus and the risks of spreading coronavirus to other countries. Exemptions, which will be managed by the Australian Border Force, will apply to a range of categories of travellers, including for those citizens ordinarily residents overseas, where travel is essential or necessary, where travel is in our national interest, and on compassionate and humanitarian grounds. This prohibition is aligned with the Government’s decision to raise the Smartraveller Travel Advice to Level 4 - Do Not Travel overseas. Read the Prime Minister’s statement.


WA’s borders closed to interstate visitors

The State Government has implemented new restrictions and arrival requirements to travel to WA from interstate in response to COVID-19. As of 1.30pm Tuesday, March 24, Western Australia has strict border controls for all access points - by road, rail, air and sea. Unless exempt, arrivals from interstate will be ordered to self-isolate for 14 days. The new border controls have been developed based on advice from the Chief Health Officer and in consultation with South Australia, Northern Territory and the Commonwealth Government, the industries that will be exempted. More information is available on the Western Australian Government website or in the Premier’s media statement. The Premier has also advised that “unnecessary intrastate, internal travel in Western Australia, needs to be avoided”. The State Government is currently working on clear guidelines, to be released soon, that will put in place restrictions on the movement between WA’s regions in order to minimise the spread of COVID-19.


Rottnest Island closure

Rottnest Island will no longer be welcoming overnight guests and day visitors for the foreseeable future. Rottnest Island Closure Directions have been issued by the State Emergency Coordinator. All boaters, including moorings licensees, authorised users and those with rental mooring bookings have been required to remove vessels from the Reserve. The Rottnest Island Authority’s reservations team will be contacting guests with accommodation bookings to offer refunds or credit for travel at a future date. Ferry operators will also be contacting their guests directly with advice about bookings and their terms of cancellation. Read more here.


Further restrictions affecting hospitality and event industry

The Federal Government has announced stricter measures to encourage social distancing, which could be in place for at least six months. The following facilities are restricted from opening as of March 23 - pubs, registered and licenced clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation); gyms and indoor sporting venues; cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos and night clubs; and cultural institutions including libraries, museums and art galleries. Restaurants and cafes will be closed apart from takeaway and home delivery options. In addition, as of March 26, the restrictions will extend to food courts (except for takeaway); amusement parks, arcades and play centres; gaming and gambling venues; and spa and massage parlours. For a full list and more information read the Federal Government’s media release or the Premier’s media statement. In addition, non-essential indoor gatherings are no longer permitted. For more information please see Limits on public gatherings for coronavirus (COVID-19).


Travel restrictions for Kimberley, remote Aboriginal communities

The State Government has partnered with the Commonwealth Government to implement new restrictions for access to designated regions in the State to protect the health and wellbeing of residents in the Kimberley and remote Aboriginal communities. From 9pm today (Thursday March 26, 2020)  access will be restricted into: the Kimberley (comprising all four local government areas); Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku; Parts of the Shire of East Pilbara that encompass the communities of Jigalong, Martu homeland communities and Kiwirrkurra. Under these arrangements, any person outside a designated region can only enter that region to provide essential services or supplies or if they have been quarantined from the general public for the previous 14 days. Other special exemptions may apply. The State Government's Remote Aboriginal Communities Directions will continue to apply to all remote Aboriginal communities,within and outside these designated regions. Read more in the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs' media statement.


‘Western Australia Tourism – Our Story’ forums cancelled

The planned delivery of the ‘Western Australia Tourism – Our Story’ narrative forums and live stream have been cancelled in light of the extremely challenging situation the industry is currently facing, which is everyone’s number one priority. Tourism WA is committed to continuing to work hard behind the scenes on our marketing, messaging and partnerships so that, when the time is right, we will come back stronger than ever.


ACCC advice for businesses

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is encouraging all businesses to treat consumers fairly and compassionately in the event of cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic. The organisation has issued advice for consumers and businesses on their rights and obligations in the event of cancellations of flights, travel services including cruises, or if consumers want to cancel their plans. The ACC expects refunds, a credit note or voucher will be offered in most circumstances. However, cancellations due to government restrictions may mean consumers are entitled to a refund under the terms and conditions of their ticket, or potentially may make a travel insurance claim. The ACCC has also urged consumers to exercise patience and to treat service staff with courtesy and respect during this time.