Coronavirus Update

By January 30, 2020 March 3rd, 2020 Industry News & Updates

Information last updated: 3 March 2020

Coronavirus COVID-19 is spreading relatively quickly in a number of countries and can cause serious illness, especially in older people with pre-existing medical conditions. The infection has not yet been of significant scale in Australia and certainly not in this South West corner of the continent.

MRBTA continues to monitor the situation in liaison with the tourism industry’s peak bodies, with close attention to the following areas:

  1. Scale and spread of virus
  2. Impact on travel and tourism industry
  3. Operational procedures

Please read on for further details.

1. Scale and Spread of Virus

Coronavirus information

Information and guidance from the World Health Organization can be found on this website.

For details about the situation in Australia visit the Australian Department of Health’s website.

Travel restrictions

For the latest information relating to travel in Australia see the Department of Home Affairs website.

To find out about any flight cancellations please check with individual airlines.

Cruise ship cancellations and changes can be found here.

The Australian Government’s Smartraveller website also provides travel advice for Australians. For more information, go here.

2. Impact on Travel and Tourism Industry

Tourism Council WA’s Impact Survey Results

Many thanks to all member businesses who completed Tourism Council WA’s recent survey assessing the impact of coronavirus on WA’s tourism industry. The survey found that 78 per cent of businesses in WA were experiencing some impact from coronavirus and the associated travel ban.

Of the businesses experiencing an impact, 28 per cent reported reduced forward bookings from other international visitors, and 17 per cent have experienced cancellations from other international markets. 43 per cent of businesses have experienced cancellations from Chinese visitors and 40 per cent are reporting reduced forward bookings from the Chinese market.

The information below is courtesy of Tourism Western Australia

Funding support

The State Government has committed an extra $4.85 million to Tourism WA’s domestic marketing program to attract visitors from around Australia to WA. It will also be used to encourage West Australians to holiday at home. Read more in the Tourism Minister’s media statement here.

Details of specific campaigns and activities will be announced soon.

The Australian Department of Health has produced several fact sheets for hotels, staff and guests, which can be viewed here – hotel management and staff and hotel guests.

For the latest information about how coronavirus is impacting international education visit the Study Perth website.

3. Operational Procedures

Tips for tourism businesses

The Australian Department of Health has produced several fact sheets for hotels, staff and guests, which can be viewed here – hotel management and staff and hotel guests.

For the latest information about how coronavirus is impacting international education visit the Study Perth website.

MRBTA operational procedures

Through its operation of 7 attractions, three visitor centres and airport ground handling, MRBTA staff deal directly with close to a million visitors per year in total. Although the spread of COVID-19 is concerning, it is important to implement sensible and consistent precautions that are in line with the current level of risk.

MRBTA has adopted a strategy for protection focussing on consistent, sensible hygiene regimes. This strategy may be extended in response to circumstances, but will commence with the association establishing some standard procedures:

  • Using medical grade hand sanitiser/disinfectant at intervals during the day. This will be made available to staff in rest rooms, by POS computers, at work stations, etc.
  • Washing or disinfecting hands after each tour, or at regular intervals for other staff. Washing or disinfecting hands before and after eating.
  • Using diluted bleach solution to wipe down often touched surfaces such as door handles (especially toilet/washroom), taps, counters, touch screens, etc. as defined by the Site Managers.
  • Reducing the number of times staff handle visitors’ personal belongings such as credit cards.
  • Staff making effort not to touch their face with hands.
  • Standing at a polite distance from a visitor who has flu-like head or chest symptoms, remembering that airborne transmission is unlikely at more than 2 metres.
  • Staying at home if staff have flu-like symptoms.
  • Ensuring that staff take advantage of the annual flu vaccine.