• Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC)
  • fb_icon
  • li_icon
  • tw_icon
  • yt_icon

Critical Information for Tourism Businesses

There are many resources available to you and your business to assist you in navigating through the current challenges in the wake of COVID-19, whilst ensuring the health and wellbeing of your staff and visitors.

What are we doing? 

Everyday we are fighting for the survival of our members and the industry. We are working hard to ensure your issues, your priorities and your crises are presented to government in the state and federal arenas. There is not a more critical time to be part of your industry association and know that VTIC is here to support you, to advocate for you and to present the single voice that’s needed to drive home our critical messages right now.

We are regularly updating our members with messages from our Chief Executive, Felicia Mariani. You can view past messages here.

You are now able to join VTIC as an In the Loop or Essentials member FREE until 31 December 2020. We are stronger together. Visit the VTIC website and click ‘JOIN NOW‘. Once you have completed your details a member of the team will be in touch to assist you with your FREE membership.

BUSINESS SUPPORT

VTIC is working with the State Government to ensure clear information and guidelines are provided for the Victorian tourism industry, as restrictions ease.

We also want to understand what support your business needs to reopen and recover from this crisis.

For essential information about COVID-19, including symptoms, testing and physical distancing, visit Department of Health and Human Services or phone 1800 675 398.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency, so all actions in respect to COVID-19 should be founded on expert health advice and operate under the measures agreed and implemented by governments through the National Cabinet process.

RESTRICTIONS

From 11:59pm on 8 July, metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire return to Stage 3 lockdown. Residents of these areas can only leave home for one of the four reasons: shopping for food and supplies, care and caregiving, exercise, and study and work, if it can’t be done from home.

The Tourism Guidelines are being revised to include updated information with this second lockdown. In the meantime, we know many of you (especially businesses in regional Victoria) have questions and the Department has provided this brief Q&A to help you with some of the issues you are trying to deal with.

> Use the DHHS map to locate the restricted areas

> Restricted areas (metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire) restrictions

Areas outside metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire are not subject to the Stage 3 lockdown. If you need to travel through these restricted areas, you can. However, you should plan your trip so that you don’t need to stop in an impacted area.

> Information for locations outside the restricted areas

The New South Wales border is also closed. Victorian residents require a permit to enter NSW.

> See here the summary of restrictions here

Any easing of restrictions and restoring of economic and social activity is done in line with the advice of the Chief Health Officer. Before you reopen your business, please ensure you are familiar with the current restrictions in Victoria, and whether your business is eligible to resume operations.

For more information on the re-opening of industry sectors, contact DHHS on: COVIDdirections@dhhs.vic.gov.au. If you have any questions with regard to interpreting guidelines or to clarify your eligibility to open, please visit the Department of Health and Human Services website or phone 1800 675 398.

The Business Victoria Coronavirus hotline 13 22 15 can also provide you with information on the operation of your business.

> Reopening of tourism businesses FAQs

Coronavirus (COVID-19) travel and social distancing restrictions are lifting at different times in each state and territory according to their individual circumstances. Tourism Australia has created a map to help industry and consumers navigate the travel restrictions and interstate border openings.

> Australian Travel Status Map

CORONAVIRUS APP

The Coronavirus Australia app allows you to stay up to date with official information and advice about the coronavirus situation. You can check your symptoms and get notified when urgent information and updates are published.

> Download Coronavirus Australia app

MENTAL HEALTH

Stress savvy in business and Heads Up for Small Business have advice and resources to help you look after your own mental health and manage mental health issues you may experience in the workplace.

Support is also available to you and your family from Lifeline (13 11 14) and Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636 or online chat).

The Victorian Small Business Commission has also developed a Mental Health Plan guide in
consultation with Beyond Blue, drawing insights shared by Victorian small business owners with lived experience of overcoming mental health challenges.

> Small business owner’s guide to creating a mental health plan

Please note that metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire is currently under Stage 3 restrictions, as of 11:59pm on 8 July 2020. For more information, please click here.

GUIDING STEPS FOR REOPENING

To get tourism operators ready to open their doors, as restrictions ease, VTIC has developed some Guiding Steps for the Victorian Tourism Industry. These principles will assist you in developing your restart plan, keeping customers and staff safe.

This document also includes some useful resources to help you in the planning process.

> Guiding Steps for Re-Opening

GOVERNMENT GUIDELINES

The Government Guidelines are being revised to include updated information with this second lockdown. In the meantime, we know many of you (especially businesses in regional Victoria) have questions and the Department has provided this brief Q&A to help you with some of the issues you are trying to deal with.

> Tourism Industry Guidelines for COVID-19

> Hospitality Industry Guidelines for COVID-19

> Alpine Activities Guidelines for COVID-19 (The Victorian Ski Season)

> School Camp Operations – Guidance for providers and school groups

Please note: as restrictions change, these guidelines may be updated by the Victorian Government. Ensure you refer back to these pages for the latest guidelines.

RETURN TO BUSINESS FACT SHEETS

To help Victorian businesses adapt to current restrictions and slow the spread of COVID-19, the Victorian Government has designed a range of fact sheets:

> Accommodation Providers
> Hospitality Venues
> Retail

HOSPITALITY TRAINING

The Victorian Government requires hospitality businesses, and any other businesses that offer food and drink facilities, to take the free online coronavirus (COVID-19) training. It is the Government’s expectation that:

a. at least one staff member at every venue will have completed the training;
b. all staff should make themselves familiar with Government’s guidelines; and
c. posters be displayed at the venue confirming that staff have reviewed the guidelines and completed the training as required.

> Register and Start your Training

SAFE WORK AUSTRALIA

Safe Work Australia has published the National COVID-19 safe work principles that have been agreed and implemented by the National Cabinet.

The Safe Work Australia website also includes industry-specific guidelines, resources for businesses to download – including checklists, infographics and posters on hygiene and physical distancing. You’ll also find information relating to work health and safety (WHS) laws, workers’ rights, risk assessments and emergency plans in the event of an incident.

> More information on Safe Work Australia

COVID CLEAN ONLINE TRAINING

The Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) in partnership with VTIC, has developed a COVID-Clean online training module available to all tourism businesses. COVID Clean provides core base-practices that businesses can employ to prepare to open and operate safely within the current environment.

Businesses will receive tailored cleaning checklists, a risk register, and a logo to signify their commitment to these new procedures, giving greater customer confidence.

Please note: businesses that are not already accredited will need to sign up and complete Accreditation Level 1 to access the COVID Clean module. Accreditation fees have been waived until December 2020. Please see details below.

> COVID Clean Online Training

FREE ACCREDITATION

The Quality Tourism Framework (QTF) is a single online pathway to support the continuous growth and development of Australian tourism businesses of all sizes. It provides businesses with tools and resources to ensure best practice management, customer confidence and ongoing sustainability. It has never been more important to go through the process of accrediting your business.

Accreditation fees have been waived until December 2020 as part of our continuing support for industry. 

> For more information

COVID-19 BUSINESS RECOVERY 

To assist with your recovery planning, ATIC and VTIC have developed a business recovery module that covers key sections of your planning, including: an assessment of your current business situation, continuity actions, staff management, financial analysis, operational recovery and marketing and communications.

> More information on the Business Recovery Module

WORKING WITH TOURISM AUSTRALIA

Tourism Australia has put together an overview of key resources and opportunities available to help businesses engage with TA’s domestic marketing activities. They will be updating this document regularly as more resources become available. See the overview here.

FREE ATDW LISTINGS

ATDW listings provide an effective way for Victorian tourism businesses to showcase their products or services on key tourism websites at a national, state and regional level.

For a limited time only, sign up for a free ATDW listing here.

WORKPLACE IMPACTS

We encourage employees and employers to work together to find appropriate solutions that suit the needs of individual workplaces and staff.

The Australian and Victorian Chambers have produced an Employer Guide for managing the workplace in the face of the outbreak which includes; understanding your risks, employer obligations, working from home, changing or scaling down operations and business shut down.

For information and assistance on any aspect of your employment obligations, the Victorian Chamber Workplace Relations Advice Line (03) 8662 5222 can help.

The Department of Home Affairs has information for Visa holders on staying in Australia > click here.

A MENTAL HEALTH GUIDE

The Victorian Small Business Commission has developed a Mental Health Plan guide in consultation with Beyond Blue, drawing insights shared by Victorian small business owners with lived experience of overcoming mental health challenges.

> Small business owner’s guide to creating a mental health plan

Business Victoria has launched a tool to help you determine what support at a state and federal level you may be eligible for. The finder will ask you a series of questions to help find the assistance you may be eligible for based on your circumstances.

Launch finder

You can also find more information on Federal Packages on The Treasury website.

SUPPORT FOR SOLE TRADERS

> Fact Sheet

CASH FLOW FOR BILLS

If your small or medium-sized business employs staff and has an aggregated annual turnover under $50 million, you may be eligible for two sets of cash flow boosts up to $100,000. These payments are designed to help keep your business operating, pay rent, electricity and other bills and retain staff. The first boost happened from 28 April 2020 and the second is for the periods of June to September to be delivered in instalments depending on reporting periods.

> More information is available here

ACCESS TO SUPERANNUATION

Access of up to $10,000 of superannuation were provided in FY 2019-20 and a further $10,000 is available for FY 2020-21. Individuals will not need to pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect income support payments.

>  More information is available here

AUSTRALIAN BANK LOAN REPAYMENT DEFERRALS PHASE 2

Australian banks have deferred loan repayments for small businesses affected by COVID-19 for six months. As customers approach the end of their six-month loan repayment deferral period, banks are implementing phase two of their COVID-19 support. This may involve an extension to repayments.

> Australian Banking Association 

CORONAVIRUS SME GUARANTEE SCHEME

The COVID-19 SME Guarantee Scheme allows businesses to access additional loans from participating lenders through the coming months. The scheme has commenced in April and will be available for new loans made by participating lenders until 30 September 2020.

> More information is available here

ATO ASSISTANCE

For owners or directors of a business that are currently struggling due to the Coronavirus, the ATO will assist their circumstances, including temporary reduction of payments or deferrals, or withholding enforcement actions.

Fact sheet 

ASSET WRITE-OFF

Increase in instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 for businesses with turnover of less than $500 million.  In addition, if purchasing new depreciable assets, there is access to time limited 15–month investment incentives to accelerate depreciation deductions.

More information is available here 

EXPORT MARKET DEVELOPMENT GRANT (EMDG) SCHEME

In addition to increased EMDG program funding, the EMDG export performance requirements for 2020–21 has been waived. This will ensure businesses will not have their EMDG reimbursement reduced should their export income fall due to COVID-19. To further assist exporters in 2020–21, the Minister has also determined the Initial Payment Ceiling Amount (IPCA) to be $100,000.

> More information is available here.

COVID-19 RELIEF AND RECOVERY FUNDING

This includes:

Regional Airlines Funding Assistance – for smaller regional airlines operating Regular Public Transport services

Regional Air Network Assistance – airlines that were operating Regular Public Transport air services in regional locations prior to COVID-19, are eligible to apply for a grant to operate a basic level of air connectivity per week on each route

Crisis Relief for Regional Arts – targeted support to arts organisations and artists in regional and remote Australia,

Commonwealth National Parks (Support for Tourism) Fee Waivers – temporary relief from licence fees and permit charges levied by the Director of National Parks for the period of 1 January 2020 to 31 March 2021, and rent relief to tenants of the National Botanic Gardens.

> More information is available here

ZOOS AND AQUARIUM FUNDING

This initiative provides vital funding to exhibiting zoos and aquariums whose tourism revenue stream has stopped as a result of the travel and social distancing restrictions in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. Funding will assist these businesses with the fixed operational costs associated with caring for animals, and will help exhibiting zoos and aquariums to remain viable and ready to welcome tourists when restrictions are eased.

> More information is available here

JOBKEEPER PAYMENT

Jobkeeper is a fortnightly payment made by the ATO of $1,500 per eligible employee, for a maximum period of 6 months. This is available to business that:

– Has an annual turnover of less than $1 billion and they estimate their turnover has fallen or will likely fall by 30 per cent or more, OR

– Has an annual turnover of $1 billion or more (or is part of a consolidated group for income tax purposes with turnover of $1 billion or more) and they estimate their turnover has fallen or will likely fall by 50 per cent or more.

Self-employed individuals will be eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment where they meet the relevant turnover test outlined above.

For charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profit Commission (ACNC), they will be eligible for the subsidy if they estimate their turnover has or will likely fall by 15 per cent or more relative to a comparable period.

> View Government fact sheets

The Australian and Victorian Chambers of Commerce and Industry have also produced a > Jobkeeper Payment Employer Guide to assist you.

JOBSEEKER PAYMENT

The JobSeeker Payment if a financial help for those between 22 and Age Pension age and looking for work. It’s also for when you’re sick or injured and can’t do your usual work or study for a short time. Please note, under the new temporary arrangements, a range of eligibility criteria have been relaxed and some waiting periods removed.

> For more information on JobSeeker Payment.

APPRENTICE AND TRAINEE WAGE SUBSIDIES

Apprentice and trainee wage subsidies are available for small businesses employing fewer than 20 full-time employees who retain an apprentice or trainee.  Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50% of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage paid during the nine months from 1 January – 30 September 2020.

More information

Business Victoria has launched a tool to help you determine what support at a state and federal level you may be eligible for. The finder will ask you a series of questions to help find the assistance you may be eligible for based on your circumstances.

Launch finder

BUSINESS SUPPORT PROGRAM

The new $534 million Business Support Package will provide more support to help businesses and workers through to the other side of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The new package includes:

-The expanded Business Support Fund providing more than 80,000 eligible businesses with a new $5,000 grant to support them through the renewed restrictions. This grant was previously made available to the 12 postcodes linked to outbreaks. It will now apply to all areas under Stage 3 restrictions.

-A $30 million dedicated fund for Victoria’s night time economy to support the hardest hit businesses in hospitality.

-$26 million in mental health support will ensure Victorians dealing with the compounding challenges of running a small business can get the support they need as they navigate their way through the crisis.

-A $10 million business mentoring program, pairing small business owners with experienced professionals who can help them navigate their way through the crisis.

-A $40 million capped fund for regional tourism businesses to cover the costs of refunds.

-A $20 million fund to support small businesess in Melbourne’s CBD that are faced with a large and sustained shock to their trading environments.

-Businesses will also benefit from an extended and expanded payroll tax deferral. Eligible businesses with payrolls up to $10 million can defer their liabilities for the first half of the 2020/21 financial year.

For more details, please visit the Business Victoria website.

REGIONAL TOURISM ACCOMMODATION SUPPORT PROGRAM

At 11:59pm on Wednesday 8 July 2020, residents in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire returned to Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions. The restrictions will mean that residents in these areas, as well as some interstate visitors prevented from travelling to Victoria, will have to cancel bookings with accommodation providers in regional Victoria.

Accommodation businesses in regional Victoria impacted by these cancellations will be able to apply for direct financial support through the Regional Tourism Accommodation Support Program.

Applications are open from 13 July 2020 until the end of the current Stay at Home restrictions.

> More information on the Regional Tourism Accommodation Support Program.

BUSINESS SUPPORT FUND

Businesses within metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire that are affected by the return to Stay at Home restrictions may be eligible for a one-off $5,000 grant under the Business Support Fund – Expansion program.

Applications for the program close on 19 August 2020.

> For more information, click here.

CBD BUSINESS SUPPORT FUND

The Victorian Government is establishing a $20 million CBD Business Support Fund to help small businesess in Melbourne’s CBD faced with a large and sustained shock to their trading environments. More details will be available soon.

> To register your interest for this fund, click here.

NIGHT-TIME ECONOMY BUSINESS SUPPORT PROGRAM

Victoria’s night-time economy is the envy of the nation, but right now, the deadly pandemic means it’s had to do the heavy lifting to keep us all safe. The Victorian Government has launched a $30 million dedicated fund for the hardest hit businesses in hospitality.

> More information on the Night-time Economy Support Initiative.

PAYROLL TAX RELIEF

– Businesses with annual Victorian taxable wages up to $3 million can defer, until January 2021, paying payroll tax for the first quarter of the 2020-21 financial year.
– Additional payments under the JobKeeper program are now exempt from payroll tax

> More information available here

LIQUOR LICENSE FEE RELIEF

Liquor licensing fees for 2020 will be waived for affected venues and small businesses.

Businesses that have paid for a renewable liquor licence for 2020 will be reimbursed their licence fee and those yet to pay will have the fee waived.

>More information available here

LAND TAX RELIEF

Land owners due to pay 2020 land tax that own at least one non-residential property and have total taxable landholdings below $1 million are not required to pay their 2020 land tax assessment until 31 March 2021.

If you also want to apply for the 25% land tax reduction, check the eligibility criteria on the link below.

> More information available here

COMMERCIAL TENANCY RELIEF SCHEME

The Victorian Government has announced a commercial tenancy relief scheme to alleviate financial hardship faced by tenants and landlords as a result of COVID-19.

For commercial tenants and landlords, the scheme will provide the following support:

– A six-month moratorium on commercial tenancy evictions from 29 March 2020 for the non-payment of rent for small to medium enterprises with an annual turnover under $50 million that have experienced a minimum 30 per cent reduction in turnover due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

– A freeze on rent increases during the moratorium for commercial tenants.

– A rental payment waiver or deferral proportionate to commercial tenants’ income reduction due to coronavirus (COVID-19), to be negotiated between tenant and landlord.

– A mediation service for commercial tenants and landlords to support fair tenancy negotiations.

More information available here

CITY OF MELBOURNE

Release of 500 grants worth up to $4,000 for individual artists or small organisations. The grants are available to develop new work, or for digital presentation of artistic works and performances and to provide support during the time when restrictions are in place.

City of Melbourne grants portal

If your property is within the City of Melbourne, there is an opportunity to defer, reduce or waive rates and charges levied on a property depending on the severity of the financial impact.

For further information visit:> City of Melbourne

Grants are available to provide financial assistance so businesses can quickly adapt to offering products online, providing services virtually and offering take-away and delivery of goods. Grants include:

– Projects matched dollar-for-dollar for up to $10,000 to help businesses adapt to the changed conditions this could include investing in new equipment, upgrading shop fittings or investing in IT and vehicles

– Up to $5000 is available for 400 businesses investing in online and e-commerce activities such as purchasing hardware and software, developing website and e-commerce, creating online content, online and e-commerce training, and digital marketing

– Up to $2000 is available for training and professional development for 500 organisations to equip staff with new and enhanced skills to prepare for changing conditions or recovery, such as attending training courses, and undertaking online learning and webinars

For further information visit > City of Melbourne

TOURISM AUSTRALIA
For the latest updates from Tourism Australia visit their website.

VISIT VICTORIA
For the latest updates from Visit Victoria visit their website.

PARKS VICTORIA
For the latest on park openings and closings visit their website.

HOTELS & HOTEL STAFF
The Department of Health has information for hotels and hotel staff, as well as for hotel guests.

TOURISM GREATER GEELONG & THE BELLARINE
For businesses in the Greater Geelong and Bellarine regions, Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine have a dedicated resource to assist you via their website.

DESTINATION GIPPSLAND
For businesses operating in the Gippsland region, information is available here.

GRAMPIANS TOURISM
For businesses operating in the Grampians region, Grampians Tourism has information available here.

PHILLIP ISLAND
For tourism businesses in Phillip Island, Destination Phillip Island has information and industry updates available on their website.

MURRAY
For tourism businesses in the Murray region, information and updates from Murray Region Tourism are available on their website.

GREAT OCEAN ROAD
For businesses operating on the Great Ocean Road, information is available from Great Ocean Road Tourism here.

VTIC WEBINARS

VTIC Insight Series

Given the current challenges the tourism, events and hospitality industry is facing in the wake of COVID-19, we have have launched the VTIC Insight Series.

To prepare for the future, the online Insight Sessions will help members get in front of the curve when the time comes to reconnect with consumers.

These online sessions occur fortnightly commencing from 21 April.  To view the upcoming sessions, click here.

EXTERNAL WEBINARS

Tourism Australia Coronavirus Webinar Series
Every Friday morning
> Register now

Industry Survive & Revive Sessions
The Travel Industry Hub
Ongoing
A series of webinars aimed at assisting both individuals and businesses during these troubled times.
> View webinars

Build Back Better Webinars & Road to Recovery Tourism Tutorials
Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC)
Ongoing
> View webinars

X