The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) welcomes today’s announcement by the Treasurer and Minister Pakula, delivering an additional $534 million to businesses as a result of the six-week lockdown in Metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.
VTIC Chief Executive Felicia Mariani said, “The specific inclusion of further support for tourism accommodation businesses within this package is vital to supporting an industry that has been decimated over the past many months.
“We’ve spoken to operators across the state and heard first-hand the trauma and despair that is pushing this industry to its limits in Victoria. Accommodation properties have experienced 100 per cent cancellations since the Premier’s announcement this week and these businesses are on their knees right now.”
Expansion of the $5 million relief package that was introduced last week when the initial ten postcodes were first locked down has been something VTIC has been calling for as these lockdowns were expanded.
“We’ve been working with government over the past few days to provide input into its planning, and we are pleased to see that a $40 million relief fund for accommodation operators is included in today’s business support initiatives,” Ms Mariani said.
Accommodation operators across the state who have experienced cancellations from any of the affected postcodes in Metro Melbourne or Mitchell Shire can apply for a reimbursement of up to $225 per bookable accommodation product for up to a cap of $1,125.
“The industry needs to see immediate promotion of region-to-region travel across Victoria so that regional areas that are open can see some visitation return. Region-to-region travel is worth $2.3 billion with 6.4 million visits annually. These regional centres across Victoria are not in lockdown and we need to encourage visitors to travel there,” Ms Mariani said.
“The additional business support within this $534 million package will also help many tourism businesses who are struggling to stay afloat. In particular, the expansion of the Business Support Fund with further $5,000 grants to 80,000 small businesses in the affected postcodes, and the further deferral of payroll tax into the first half of FY20/21 for eligible businesses with payrolls up to $10 million, will help many businesses to weather this latest crisis.
“The $20 million to support businesses in the CBD, Southbank and Docklands is vital as many of our cafes and restaurants across the city have not been able to reactivate over the past many weeks with city workers still working from home and offices empty.
“The additional $30 million for hospitality and the night-time economy will be a tremendous boost and responds to the issue that many of these larger establishments were unable to benefit from previous rounds of support from the Victorian Government,” Ms Mariani concluded.