Opinion: Time to plan for end to Great Southern tourism boom

Albany Business Centre’s Mark Shenton says Great Southern businesses will need to brace for an end to the intrastate tourism boom.  (Photo: Pexels)

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If the last month has taught us anything, it is that you can never predict what is going to happen.

From a tourism, retail, and hospitality point-of-view the last month saw people coming into the Great Southern ready for their Easter break away from Perth and interstate.

The Anzac Day long weekend however saw a lockdown occur, and whilst people did come, it wasn’t in the numbers that we were all expecting, making things a little bit tougher.

From a construction and industrial standpoint, business is tracking along quite nicely with the only concerns coming from not having enough staff with skills or experience.

There is also the issue of a backlog of some supplies, which should hopefully ease when things are flowing again after the stimulus-generated rush.

We would all be naive to think that this pandemic bubble will continue forever and heading into the end of financial year, the Great Southern will be less reliant on the tourism that it has enjoyed over the past months due to the public holiday staggering.

It is how we all adjust back to some normality that is going to be the hardest part for everyone.

This is definitely not a doom and gloom situation and there is plenty of opportunity to take the things that we have learnt over the past year and apply them to our ‘normal’ business plans, making every business stronger and more resilient.

For a new business or someone thinking about starting up, the advice and training are within the region – all you need to do is use it.

Remember that whilst it is easy to search for something on the internet, sometimes it is just better and easier to ask someone who has the knowledge.

If there is one thing that people and businesses in the Great Southern do well, it’s communicate and encourage, especially if it is for the greater good of the region.

At the Albany Business Centre, we are seeing a diverse and innovative group of people coming through for advice like never before, which fills me with confidence that our outlook is bright with future enterprises who will be able to adapt and lead the way.

Looking at influences outside of the region, there is plenty of positivity in economic growth which can give us all some comfort, especially in the resources sector and property market.

The question is, when or how are things going to turn? I have had more than one conversation on this in the past couple of weeks and to be honest, nobody really knows.

But what is agreed on, is that unless something dramatic happens, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be this year.

Mark Shenton, Albany Business Centre Executive Officer.

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