The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) is concerned that today’s drastic announcement by Premier Daniel Andrews to return all metropolitan Melbourne Local Government areas and Mitchell Shire to stage three restrictions for the next six weeks, will be a crushing blow to an industry already on its knees.
VTIC Chief Executive Felicia Mariani said, “While we expected to see some sweeping action taken in the Greater Melbourne region in response to the daily escalation of community transmission of COVID-19, this action will be a seismic shock to an industry that has already been crippled under the weight of restrictions across the state.”
The tourism industry last week scrambled to manage implications of reinstated Level 3 restrictions in the 10 hotspot postcodes originally identified by the Chief Health Officer.
Cancellations followed, but the Andrews Government was quick to acknowledge the impost on the accommodation sector and introduced a $5 million support package to provide some relief to the financial stress this would cause.
“The industry certainly welcomed the announcement of $225 per booking per night to support accommodation businesses that were forced to cancel travel plans for visitors from the 10 affected postcodes.
“That funding will go a long way in cushioning the blow that will undoubtedly result from this earlier move.
“The tourism and events industry fully understands the need to urgently gain control of this outbreak so we can get the state back on the pathway to recovery that other states are already moving toward.
“These measures, however, are likely to be a blow that many tourism businesses across the state will simply not recover from,” Ms Mariani said.
Victorians travelling across their own state deliver 80% of tourism performance for the regions, and a large proportion of that visitation is from Melburnians who are now unable to travel for the next six weeks.
“It was indeed promising to hear the Premier say that regional Victoria may see a different speed at which restrictions will be eased. VTIC has been calling for this to occur as most parts of regional Victoria have been largely unaffected and should not suffer as a consequence of issues in Melbourne.
“However, the challenge remains that many operators in regional Victoria rely so heavily on Melbourne as their primary audience. With metropolitan Melbourne now in lockdown for the next six weeks, it will have drastic impacts on our tourism operators across the state.
“VTIC will continue to engage with Government on behalf of our industry on measures to support the tourism, events and hospitality sector to somehow manage through this latest shutdown and the incredibly challenging time that will result,” Ms Mariani said.