Coronavirus crisis: Tourism Council WA implores West Australians to postpone, not cancel planned holidays
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WA tourism businesses are relaxing their cancellation policies in a desperate attempt to hold on to their remaining bookings in light of the coronavirus crisis and its unprecedented impact on the industry.
Tourism Council WA is asking all West Australians to postpone any planned holidays in WA that can’t currently take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic — rather than cancel their trips completely.
Chief executive Evan Hall said tourism operators were relaxing their usual cancellation policies to allow credits so visitors could carry out their planned holidays at a later date.
It comes after Premier Mark McGowan declared the state was at “war” to try and slow the spread of coronavirus, calling for all interstate travellers planning to visit WA to cancel their holidays and imposing an exile of people to Rottnest Island for quarantined isolation.
The announcement followed the banning of all non-essential travel in and out of WA — an exceptional measure that came into effect at 1.30pm on Tuesday.
In light of the border enforcement measures, which, if breached could warrant a $50,000 fine, Mr Hall implored people to simply postpone their travel plans, stressing that any more cancellations could prove fatal for the WA tourism industry.
“On behalf of tourism businesses across the State, we ask that you do not cancel your holiday — just postpone it. Get in touch with tourism businesses and postpone your booking for a better time,” he said.
“Cancelling your booking now will be devastating to tourism businesses, but if you can postpone your booking, they will be extremely grateful knowing that you do want to visit in the future when it is safe to do so.
“During these unprecedented times, the tourism industry understands that public health should be everyone’s top priority.”
Mr Hall said many tourism businesses had already gone into hibernation but intended to resume providing a great service to West Australians as soon as possible.
“Right now, thousands of tourism business across Western Australia are assessing when to suspend operations and how they are going to support staff, put food on the table, and recover in the future,” he said.