Talking Tourism

Issue 604, April 16, 2020


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

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A message from all of us at Tourism WA

Hi everyone,


The team here at Tourism WA would love to hear about anything positive happening out there in WA’s tourism industry, with the aim of providing inspiration and hope to our tourism mates during this difficult time. So if you’re an operator who has adapted and found a new way of staying afloat while waiting for things to return to normal, let us know!


From an industry perspective, we want to help keep spirits high and perhaps encourage others to think outside the box. From a consumer perspective, our Destination PR team is receiving plenty of media requests and will be collating information and pitching to domestic and international media in the coming weeks.


So please, email us and we’ll try to help spread the word – either to inspire other tourism businesses, or provide exposure through proactive public relations. We’re here to support you all the way.


New laws provide support for commercial tenants and landlords

Urgent legislation to minimise financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on commercial tenants and landlords will be introduced into State Parliament this week. The Commercial Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 will introduce a moratorium on evictions for small commercial tenancies and provide a range of other measures to offer support for tenants in response to COVID-19, including the introduction of a code of conduct for landlords and tenants. Updated information relating to these changes is available on the Consumer Protection website. For more information, read the Premier’s media statement.


Register for Tourism Australia coronavirus webinar

Tourism Australia is hosting a series of webinars on coronavirus each week. The next webinar will be held tomorrow, April 17, at 9am (WST). This week’s guests will cover topics suggested from industry feedback, including the latest coronavirus update from Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth, who will also be on hand to answer questions; a Tourism Australia update and US Deep Dive; and social media and marketing activities from Tourism Australia’s Chief Marketing Officer, Susan Coghill, and General Manager of PR, Social, Content and Consumer Marketing, Anita Godbeer. Please submit questions on this week’s topics in advance when you register.


New Lotteries laws to further support WA community

New laws to support Lotterywest retailers, players and the community were introduced into State Parliament yesterday, as part of further State Government measures to buffer the COVID‑19 impact and inject more relief funding into the community. The Lotteries Commission Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 will provide Lotterywest with temporary powers to assist other public authorities to provide grant programs during and after COVID-19. Hardship packages can be more readily developed to provide urgent financial relief for not-for‑profits, arts and community organisations that have been severely impacted as a result of cancelled events – be it a loss of revenue or operational costs that had already been committed. This builds on the $159 million COVID-19 relief fund, which was announced on March 30. Funding will compensate for cancellation costs, lost revenue and incurred or committed operational costs associated with a cancelled event. For more information, read the Premier’s media statement.


ATEC helps prepare your business for future success

The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) has developed a Road to Recovery tourism tutorial series – a 12-week program designed to provide the tourism industry with the necessary tools to bounce back after the impacts of COVID-19. The tutorial series will cover a range of topics, including tools to adapt and innovate, marketing in a digital world, and improving commercial relationships. The 45-minute Road to Recovery tourism tutorials are free of charge and will be hosted every Thursday at 12 noon (WST). Register here for next week’s tutorial. This program is in addition to ATEC’s Build Back Better industry webinar series, which has been running for three weeks. Next week’s webinar will take place on Wednesday April 22 at 1pm, and will feature Tourism WA Managing Director Brodie Carr as a panellist. Register here.


WA incentive for Aussie Specialist Program UK

Throughout April and May, Tourism WA UK will run eLearning training incentives with Travel Weekly and Travel Gossip, to encourage UK travel trade to engage with the Aussie Specialist Program. The incentive offers gift vouchers for 10 lucky winners who complete the Western Australia training module. Trade websites have seen a significant spike in traffic recently, with travel professionals seeking news from trusted media and with many people working from home the appetite for eLearning has significantly increased. At a time when many are dreaming of holidays in faraway destinations, the incentive aims to keep Western Australia top of mind in preparation for the return of travel when the time is right.


Supporting Australian exporters

Australia’s Minister for Tourism, Simon Birmingham, has announced that Australian exporters impacted by coronavirus may be eligible for business-saving loans between $250,000 and $50 million under a new $500 million capital facility to be administered by Export Finance Australia. The new COVID-19 Export Capital Facility will target loans to established and previously profitable exporters who, due to COVID-19, are unable to gain finance from commercial sources. Contact 1800 093 724 or visit the website for more information.


COVID hotline and FAQs

The State Government has established a hotline to help 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, seven days a week. 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 containing a FAQ document that is regularly updated with relevant industry information, contact numbers and links.


Coronavirus app launched

The Australian Federal Government has launched a Coronavirus Australia app to provide up to date, trusted advice on COVID-19 from the Commonwealth. It includes advice on hygiene, symptoms, public gatherings and the latest news and announcements from the Federal Government. Search ‘Coronavirus Australia’ in the App Store for iPhone or Google Play for Android to download it for free. You can also stay up to date via WhatsApp to get #COVID19 information from the official Australian Government chatbot. Message +61 400 253 787 or click here.


Relief package targets small and medium-sized businesses

The State Government’s relief package contains targeted funding for small and medium-sized businesses, with $502 million allocated to provide assistance in the following areas:

Electricity – A one-off $2,500 credit for Synergy and Horizon Power customers that consume less than 50 megawatt hours (MWh) per annum. The credit is available for current customers (as of March 31, 2020) and will be allocated from May 1, 2020.

Payroll tax – will be waived for a four-month period between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2020 for businesses with Australia-wide annual wages of less than $7.5 million in 2019-20.

Licence fees – A range of licence fees in impacted industries will be waived for the next 12 months, including licences for tourism businesses operating in national and marine parks and boat registration and mooring fees for tourism operators. Liquor licence renewal fees for 2020 will also be waived and refunds provided for businesses that have already paid.

Payments waived – businesses can apply for an interest-free payment arrangement and for late payment penalties to be waived for payroll tax, transfer duty, landholder duty, vehicle licence duty or land tax.

Power and water – Small businesses will not have their power or water disconnected due to late payments, and no interest will be charged on deferred bill payments. For electricity, this will apply to Synergy and Horizon Power customers who consume 50MWh or less.

Read more in the Premier’s media statement.

In addition, the State Government will waive rent for six months for eligible tenants of buildings owned by Government agencies and trading enterprises as part of a $25 million rent relief plan. Read more in the Premier and Treasurer’s media statement.



Take heart

We have introduced this section in Talking Tourism to give the people in our industry a ray of light among the darkness, with snippets of good news.


Take a virtual tour of WA

Tourism WA kicked off a 13-day virtual reality tour of WA on Facebook this morning. We will travel from the south of the state right up to the north and post a virtual reality video at 9am (WST) each day. This is a simple way to showcase some of our amazing destinations and experiences in a different way. Each Regional Tourism Organisation has been tagged on the post relevant to their region, allowing them to share and promote their region. Visit our consumer Facebook page here.


North West innovation

Some Australia’s North West operators have adapted in some innovative ways. SoBroome is streaming the Staircase to the Moon on Facebook, so viewers all over the world are able to see it live.  Meanwhile award-winning Kununurra rum maker, Hoochery Distillery, has modified their still to produce hand sanitiser and Clinton Walker from Ngurrangga Tours has been providing advice and tips on traditional bushfoods via Facebook.


Connect with our digital team

Our digital content team wants to hear from you and keep across what you are now doing differently. Please continue to use the #thisiswa hashtag and @mention Western Australia on social media as you usually do so the team can pick it up.


Friday Fizz

Missing your tourism mates? The WA tourism community is a close-knit network of hard-working, passionate people who like to get together regularly, share stories and socialise. With this in mind, on Fridays (for the foreseeable future) tourism operators can get together online to remind each other we're all in this together.  Places are limited, so get in quick to secure your spot by registering here.