MEDIA RELEASE - NSW Government must give snowfields tourism a plan to restart

The NSW Labor Opposition has called on the Berejiklian Barilaro Government to proceed with an opening date for the NSW Ski Season, as Victoria and New Zealand have announced opening dates and time frames for their ski seasons. Labor says the Government must provide a clear plan for the lifting of restrictions for tour operators, with goals for both tourism operators and tourists to work towards.

Shadow Minister for Investment and Tourism, Jenny Aitchison said: “The NSW ski fields are now behind both Victoria and New Zealand. Tourism operators across the state are crying out for leadership and consistency in the economic restart, but the response from the Government is confusion and chaos.’

“Operators need certainty to build their plans, but just last week, we saw pubs and clubs given two days’ notice that they could open in mid-May, after the Premier saying that the re-opening was absolutely not on the cards just two days earlier.”

“While we must all be guided by the health advice, the Government needs to provide some clear time frames for the tourism industry to aim for, and clarity for both operators and tourists, particularly for the state’s ski fields.”

NSW Labor has called on the NSW Government to provide a number of initiatives to make the re-opening of the NSW tourism industry successful including:

· Clarity around restrictions that will be imposed on regional tourism operators, and what kind of experience tourists can expect;

· A comprehensive marketing campaign and resources to help operators to re-open in such a short time frame;

· A dedicated information hotline for tourism operators to access government health and business advice;

· Resources for roadside services, and rest stops to reopen whilst adhering to social distancing;

· Clear information on public transport options, and clarity on how social distancing and screening rules will be applied across transport modes; and

· Increased assistance for marketing and infrastructure redevelopment of assets burnt in the bushfires.

Ms Aitchison said: “Certainty is particularly crucial for snow tourism operators as they are so vertically integrated with accommodation, transport and food and beverage operations, and there will be logistical issues in ensuring the seasonal workforce and supplies are in place for the beginning of the season.”

“Now operators and tourists have been told that overnight travel can start from 1 June 2020, but still, with just over a week to go, there is no clear advice about when or how our ski fields, one of the jewels of regional NSW tourism, can open.”

In Victoria, the Government has given specific advice regarding snow sports and travel to the snowfields allowing day trips to the ski fields, and they have now set a hard date for their opening as 22 June 2020. In New Zealand, government and the industry have agreed to a number of specific guidelines which will allow ski resorts to operate safely.