The Tasmanian Hospitality Association (THA) is calling for federal assistance for the state’s operators as interstate lockdowns and resulting cancellations and refunds take their toll.

The latest lockdowns across Tasmania’s main tourist markets in Victoria, NSW and Queensland are devastating for many venues, according to THA, with some again questioning their viability in these uncertain conditions.

“Another lockdown in our main tourist state, Victoria, is the last thing we needed in what is already the quietest time of the year,” THA CEO Steve Old said.

“Operators are just saying ‘here we go again’ but there’s only so many times you can take hit after hit. Venues are going to need assistance, or we really do risk some of them shutting their doors permanently.”

The THA said it supports the call from Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania CEO, Luke Martin, for Federal Government assistance for key markets affected by these lockdowns.

“The ongoing uncertainty is just so detrimental to business confidence for everyone. Accommodation is obviously hardest hit but the rest of the industry is suffering as well,” Old said.

“We really feel for our counterparts in the tourism and hospitality industries, especially across the eastern states. Having to shut down and reopen repeatedly is so damaging to not only business viability but the mental health of everyone, owners, operators, and staff –everyone in the supply chain. And that impact is really reverberating to industries around the nation including us here in Tassie.”

The THA said it is working with national body, the Australian Hotels Association, as well as allied industries to advocate for assistance packages.

Recently, the Tasmanian Government announced a third round of the ‘Make Yourself at Home’ travel voucher program to assist the industry through continued challenges. The first two rounds of the scheme were very successful last year, according to the THA, benefiting not only accommodation and tourism venues, but also restaurants, cafes and hotels around the state, particularly in regional areas.

While Old praised the scheme, which he said would go some way to helping hospitality venues, he said more needs to be done.

“The Federal Government needs to step up and help the industries that have been most severely impacted. Where are our Tasmanian Federal MPs right now? I don’t see them standing up for our world-class industry.”

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