Wait goes on over Covid-hit

TASMANIAN Department of State Growth representatives have been to the island and met with tourism operators as promised.

The meetings were part of a process offered by the State Government in response to the impacts of the government’s Public Health-issued advisory to not travel to King Island earlier this year, due to a Covid-19 outbreak.

President of King Island Tourism Inc. Adam Hely said he was keen to see what would come from the meetings.

“Tourism operators had individual meetings with State Growth and were able to tell them of the financial hardship that the travel restriction announcement caused,” Mr Hely said.

Mr Hely said he was yet to hear back from the Department and he was not aware of other operators having received feedback.

Tourism operator Ian Johnson experienced major losses due to group cancellations and confirmed he also met with State Growth officials.

“We met, we talked, and I haven’t heard anything back from them yet,” Mr Johnson said.

The Government’s second tranche of Business Support grants, which was available to all eligible Tasmanian tourism operators who experienced financial loss due to Tasmanian borders opening in February, closed on Tuesday, March 8.

King Island operators are hoping for additional financial support and direct compensation due to the travel advisory which was not issued to any other local government area and led to mass current and future bookings cancellations.

Mayor Julie Arnold said while things had improved there was a significant shortfall from last summer bookings.

“Our bookings now are good but we expected them to be good,” Ms Arnold said.
“That doesn’t recover the January bookings that a number of our people lost and which caused such immense economic damage to them.
“We’ll wait and see what State Growth say and whether they come back with specific support for perhaps individuals in the tourism group that have been badly impacted.”

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