Leading hoteliers have welcomed the news that payments of up to $225 per cancelled night can be paid to accommodation providers in regional Victoria as part of a new AUD$5 million government support fund designed to soften the blow caused by the state’s reinstated lockdown.
Speaking exclusively to HM, Lancemore Group CEO, Julian Clark and Quest Apartment Hotels COO, David Mansfield, were united in endorsing the fund, saying the support was appreciated as regional properties prepare for another downturn.
Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, has imposed a strict ‘Stay at Home’ lockdown on metropolitan Melbourne which will run for a minimum of six weeks. His announcement also included a blunt warning to affected residents, warning them not to travel to regional areas of the state.
The Government’s ‘Tourism Accommodation Support Program’ fund will pay regional operators of hotels, motels, caravan parks and short-term rentals in 46 regional and rural council areas a stipend of $225 per night on the proviso that full refunds are returned to the consumer with no cancellation fees.
The fund will cover bookings made from 3pm on 30 June 2020 for travel from 1 July until 29 July, however this end date is expected to be extended to cover the duration of the lockdown.
“It won’t replace lost confidence nor freedom of movement but it is helpful and appreciated, even at a symbolic level,” Clark said.
“We need to understand the government’s new strategy for containment, opening up and also dealing with future outbreaks so we can have certainty in opening up our businesses.”
Quest Apartment Hotels COO, David Mansfield, told HM the company’s Victorian properties would be heavily impacted by interstate cancellations and further losses.
“It’s a very challenging time, and we hope that the Victorian government’s support package will provide the sector with some reprieve, while the state works hard to contain outbreaks,” he said.
“We fully appreciate the importance of the measures in place however do hope this lockdown stint will be shorter and we will be able to welcome back interstate guests to Quest’s Victorian properties in the not too distant future.”
Visit Victoria CEO, Brendan McClements, said he was pleased this fund has been made available for businesses which otherwise would have lost revenue.
“We also hope many guests will choose to postpone their trip and rebook for a later date so they can make the most of our beautiful state, when it is safe to do so,” McClements said.
“These restrictions aren’t easy, but they are so important to our effort to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and keep all Victorians safe.”
The introduction of the fund has been welcomed by regional accommodation providers, with Lancemore Group CEO, Julian Clark, telling HM it was a welcome initiative by the Andrews government.
Applications for reimbursement can be made by registering at www.business.vic.gov.au, with funds to start being paid from 13 July.