The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) expects tourism businesses in both Melbourne and regional Victoria to be hit hard by Friday’s grand final eve public holiday.
“The cost to pay Victoria’s almost 2 million full time employees not to come to work this Friday could reach $543 million, at a time when many tourism businesses already face significant cost pressures,” said Acting VTIC Chief Executive Erin Joyce.
Regional tourism businesses are highly sceptical of claims that increased costs will be offset by additional business over the weekend.
“Business will be worse-off as any benefit from additional visitation, above normal school holiday levels, will not exceed the extra costs incurred by employers as a result of the public holiday,” said Ms Joyce.
Due to public holiday penalty rates and expected negligible increases in customers, throughout the state many businesses will be forced to:
• Employ a skeleton staff
• Roster on inexperienced junior staff
• Open for reduced hours
• Close for the day; or
• Pass on some of the increased labour costs to customers by way of a surcharge
VTIC warned that a compromised visitor experience on grand final eve could have a longer term effect on the competitiveness of Victorian tourism.
“Visitors from interstate or overseas may find many retailers, cafes, bars and restaurants closed or operating with reduced services levels. These experiences could damage Victoria’s global reputation as a leading tourism destination,” said Ms Joyce.
“We will continue to tell the government that the decision to introduce the grand final eve holiday is the wrong one and must be retracted for future years.”