Booked up and ready to burst

Photo of Steve Butler

Post-shutdown Kununurra under pressure, reports STEVE BUTLER

Veteran Kimberley tour guide Jeff Hayley has laid bare the pressures felt by the industry in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Hayley, who has run Triple J Tours out of Kununurra for more than 30 years, said his business bottom line was slashed by 95 per cent last year as the COVID-19 lockdown wreaked havoc. He believed most other operators in the East Kimberley reported similar impact after Premier Mark McGowan’s strict biosecurity measured virtually closed the region off.

While he praised the State Government’s subsequent compensation package, he said the industry was finding it difficult to fully recover because it was impossible to find adequate staffing numbers across all tourism and hospitality ventures in the region.

It is understood to have forced the Kununurra Country Club to operate at half capacity and The Pumphouse restaurant has also limited forward bookings to just a week in advance.

“Unfortunately, the Pumphouse is experiencing chronic staff shortages, making it very hard to plan for the season ahead,” a statement on the venue’s website said. “We have made the difficult decision to cease taking forward bookings at this time, as we are already heavily booked and need to ensure that we can provide the standard of service we strive to achieve.”

Read the full story here.

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