Talking Tourism

Issue 611, June 4, 2020


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

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Kimberley back open for business

In what is very welcome news for tourism businesses in Australia’s North West, the Kimberley, Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku and parts of the East Pilbara will reopen to all West Australians tomorrow, with the Federal Government agreeing to remove the Commonwealth Biosecurity restrictions. Last week, the State Government earmarked these areas would be opened, if agreed to by the Federal Government. From June 5, the biosecurity areas declared under the Commonwealth Biosecurity Act 2015 will be removed, however access to remote communities will remain restricted. The restrictions were put in place on March 26, 2020 to help protect WA's 274 remote Aboriginal communities from COVID-19. For more information, read the WA Government’s media statement.


‘Wander out Yonder’ launches on WA Day

A new intrastate campaign launched on Monday (WA Day) is encouraging West Australians to support local tourism businesses and enjoy a staycation in Perth or seek out new experiences across the State. The campaign tagline ‘We’re free to Wander out Yonder’ aims to celebrate the feeling of freedom people can now enjoy again, since the majority of the State’s travel restrictions were lifted. Print, digital media and radio will be used to spread the message, with the campaign also promoting holiday offers with hotels, holiday parks, campervans and a range of tours and experiences. West Australians are encouraged to support the campaign by using the hashtag #wanderoutyonder on social posts of their favourite WA destinations. We've created an industry toolkit that details how to get involved. Read more on our corporate website.


Tourism Business Survival Grants applications open next week

Tourism WA’s Tourism Business Survival Grants are due to open next week, with grants of $25,000 to $100,000 available from a $4 million funding pool through a competitive online application process. The program’s aim is to ensure a viable tourism industry in Western Australia, enabling the survival of businesses that attract visitors to the State. Funding will be available to tourism businesses dealing with exceptionally challenging circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 travel restrictions, who have hibernated during this crisis and now need to mobilise and adapt to different market conditions. We’ll provide full details about eligibility, the application process and what the funding can support as soon as possible on our corporate website. A reminder that applications are also still open for the $6,500 grants from the WA Tourism Recovery Fund until Friday, June 12, 2020. If you have been successful in receiving a grant from the Tourism Recovery Fund, you can still apply for a Business Survival Grant.


Exemption for charter vessels and tourism aircraft

As part of the relaxation of restrictions in Phase 3 of the COVID-19 WA Roadmap, which will come into effect on June 6, the four square metre rule will be revised to two square metres per person. However, from this date charter vessels, tour buses, tourism aircraft and skydiving flights will be exempt from this distancing rule; meaning the new two square metre rule will NOT apply to them. Operators are reminded to adopt COVID-19 hygiene protocols and practices, including undertaking thorough cleaning, providing sanitizer products, and physical distancing for staff and customers as much as possible. Operators should also keep customer records for potential contact tracing.


COVID-19 testing for tourism workers

The WA Department of Health’s DETECT Snapshot program is inviting people from identified groups in the community, including tourism sector employees and hospitality workers, who show no symptoms of COVID-19, to be tested for the virus. The program aims to get a better understanding of any COVID-19 that may be in the community. People from identified groups who are over the age of 18 are encouraged to participate. The free testing is voluntary, and is available until Wednesday, June 10, 2020 for eligible workers who do NOT have any COVID-19 symptoms. Clinic locations are available here or by calling 13 COVID (13 26843). Visit the DETECT Snapshot page for more information.


Postcards from our Backyard campaign continues

WAITOC has launched the second phase of its “Postcards from our Backyard” campaign, with a competition that builds on the creation and promotion of 20 video postcards. The audience is invited to vote for their favourite postcard and enter to win one of 20 $500 vouchers to spend with any full members – including tours, accommodation, art, bushfoods or other merchandise, through to December 2021. The first phase reached more than 200,000 people and the postcards will also be featured on the Yagan Square Digital Tower. The campaign targets West Australians, with the objective to ensure Aboriginal experiences are part of the post-lockdown adventures around the State. Watch the campaign video here and view the competition landing page here.


Western Australia featured in top UK titles

Tourism WA’s London team has secured recent coverage of Western Australia in some of the UK’s top titles. The South West coastline was positioned as one of the best destinations in the world to connect with your ‘inner wanderer’ in The Telegraph. On describing the route, journalist James Stewart wrote: ‘‘Perth to Esperance is 700 miles of vast skies and stellar bush-camps in national parks. Beyond foodie hotspot Margaret River, the road empties and the scenery takes over: pre-colonial forests, arty Denmark town, then Albany, WA’s whale-watching base.” The ‘i’ newspaper included the whale shark migration and whale shark swims around Ningaloo Reef as one of the world’s great migrations to experience, and the Metro newspaper included the ‘Return to 1616’ ecological restoration project on Dirk Hartog Island as a top wildlife experience. Trade title, Selling Travel, included Tourism WA's virtual familiarisation trip on Spinning Globe in a round-up of the best virtual training options for UK agents.


Export Finance Australia offers services to tourism operators

Export Finance Australia is offering a range of flexible loans and guarantees for Australian exporters affected by COVID-19, including international tourism businesses providing services directly, or through a supply chain. The finance company can assist businesses in working capital support, capital investment, international expansion and online growth. It also offers a range of financial solutions including export loans, bonds, guarantees and project and structured finance. Export Finance Australia may be able to assist Australian-registered businesses who have been trading for at least two years, are unable to secure finance from the private market, have an annual turnover of more than $250,000, and can demonstrate profitable operations. Contact Export Finance Australia on 1800 093 724 or visit its website.


New framework for rent relief negotiations

The WA Government has introduced a new code of conduct to help commercial tenants and landlords reach agreements about rent during the COVID-19 pandemic. The code applies to small businesses with an annual turnover of less than $50 million and which qualify for the JobKeeper scheme or have experienced a decline in turnover of 30 per cent or more during the emergency period (six months from March 30, 2020). The code outlines a process for tenants to request rent relief. Landlords are required to offer relief at least proportionate to the reduction in turnover that the business has suffered and provide at least half of that rent relief as a waiver, with the rest to be either deferred or waived. For practical advice on the best way to reach an agreement on rent relief under the new code, visit the Small Business Development Corporation's website. Read more in the WA Government media statement.


Tourism Australia launches Australian Travel Status Map

Tourism Australia has created an interactive map that enables consumers and industry to navigate the travel restrictions and the reopening of state and territory borders. The map provides a national picture including an up-to-date status of border restrictions, and links to each state and territory for further advice and resources. See the map here.


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 now 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.


Register for Tourism Australia industry webinar

Tourism Australia (TA) is hosting a series of webinars on COVID-19 each week. The next webinar will be held at 9am (WST) tomorrow, June 5. Presenters include Qantas Airways Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Alan Joyce, who will be discussing Australia’s aviation landscape, the importance of aviation to tourism and sharing insights on Qantas’ recovery strategy; and Andy Lark, founder of Group Lark, a global strategy, digital and brand consultancy. Andy will be sharing his strategy for tourism businesses on how to approach the recovery, operationally and from a messaging perspective. Click here to register.


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.


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.