Frequently asked questions on tourism, transport and accommodation.
What is the latest advice to Australians regarding overseas travel?
As of 25 March, there is a travel ban in place for all Australians travelling overseas. Exemptions will apply for those citizens ordinarily resident overseas, where travel is essential or necessary, or where travel is in our national interest, and on compassionate and humanitarian grounds.
What is the latest inbound travel advice for those entering Australia?
There is a travel ban for all non-residents and non-Australian citizens coming to Australia, with all international flights suspended from 30 March 2020. From 29 March, travellers returning from overseas to Victoria will be placed in enforced quarantine for a self-isolation period of 14-days to slow the spread of coronavirus. Travellers will be housed in hotels, motels, caravan parks, and student accommodation for this period.
What is deemed essential travel and non-essential travel?
Essential domestic travel is considered any travel that is absolutely necessary, such as going to work or the shops or based on compassionate grounds. As of 31 March, for Victorians, there are only four reasons to leave their home: food and supplies, medical care, exercise, and work or education. Non-essential travel refers to holidays, business trips, short breaks away – this travel must be cancelled or deferred to a later date to avoid transmission of the virus from one community to another.
What is the advice around March/April school holidays?
The Australian government has advised the Australian public to avoid all unnecessary travel. As of 31 March, for Victorians there are only four reasons to leave their home: food and supplies, medical care, exercise, and work or education. Gatherings are restricted to no more than two people, except for immediate household members and in work or education. Now is not the time to travel, but that doesn't mean we can't dream. Visit https://www.visitvictoria.com/
Can I go camping/to a caravan park/to a motel/to a B&B/to my holiday house?
As directed by the Chief Health Officer, all campsites, camping grounds, and caravan parks are closed. People can continue to live on a closed caravan park or camping ground if it is registered as their primary place of residence or if they are staying in caravan parks as interim accommodation where their primary residence is not available. In addition as of 31 March, playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor gyms are closed. Now is not the time to travel, but that doesn't mean we can't dream. Visit https://www.visitvictoria.com/
What measures should I put in place to protect my staff and guests?
The Australian Government Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) provides specific advice for hotels and hotel staff. There is also important messaging that you can distribute (including posters) around your venue. If you are concerned that one of your guests has contracted the virus whilst in isolation, encourage them to contact the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.
If a guest is required to self-isolate at my property will I be reimbursed by the Victorian Government?
No, it is the responsibility of guests to cover costs associated with their accommodation.
What happens if my customers choose to cancel their accommodation due to coronavirus?
The best solution is to talk to the customer to negotiate alternative arrangements. For example, hold the deposit over to be used at a different time. This is a frequently used strategy by tourism operators who have been through a crisis – a postponement or a deferment of a booking means you can hold onto the deposit at a time when every dollar counts. It's also important to remember the crisis will pass and your business is for the long-term. If you keep the goodwill of your customers in difficult times, it can pay off in the future.
What financial support is available to my tourism business on a federal level?
On 22 March, the Prime Minister announced a support package to assist small businesses to stay in business and help keep core staff employed. This is in addition to the $17.6 billion package announced by the Federal Government on 12 March. The Federal government also pledged $1 billion to support those sectors, regions and communities most impacted, including tourism. Targeted measures will also be developed to further promote domestic tourism.
What financial support is available to my tourism business at a state level in Victoria?
The Victorian Government also announced a $1.7 billion economic and jobs package to help Victorian businesses and workers. This includes $500 million to establish a Business Support Fund to support the hardest-hit sectors, including tourism and accommodation. The Government will work with the Victorian Chamber, Australian Hotels Association and Ai Group to administer the fund. The Victorian Government is establishing the Working for Victoria Fund, to help workers who lose their job as a result of COVID-19 to find new job opportunities.
How long will the Victorian tourism and events industry be impacted?
Currently, the State of Emergency declared in Victoria has been set until midnight 13 April 2020, but due to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is most likely to be extended.
How has Visit Victoria changed its international, interstate and intrastate marketing activity?
All marketing activity has been paused due to the limited ability to travel at this time. Visit Victoria is continually monitoring the situation and will update its marketing activities accordingly when it is appropriate to do so.
Frequently asked questions on major events, business events and public gatherings.
What is the latest advice regarding events and public gatherings?
In line with advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer, the Victorian Government has implemented a shutdown or restriction of non-essential activity across Victoria to help combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). There are no major events, business events or public gatherings at this time. As of 31 March, for Victorians, there are only four reasons to leave your home: food and supplies, medical care, exercise, and work or education. Gatherings are restricted to no more than two people, except for immediate household members or in work/education.
My event/public gathering is taking place outside the banned period, should I continue to plan for it?
The State of Emergency declared in Victoria has been set until midnight 13 April 2020, but due to the evolving nature of the coronavirus (COVID-19), it is likely governments across Australia will need to go further in the weeks and possibly months ahead. The decision to proceed or postpone an event is a decision for the business event organiser, based on the direction of governments and the latest health advice.
If I need to cancel my event will I be covered for any losses?
It is best to contact your insurance provider or legal adviser to discuss what compensation you may be eligible for.
My organisation received a grant from the government for an event or program which is no longer running due to coronavirus – do I have to return this money?
Like all organisations, the Victorian Government is assessing contractual obligations and financial arrangements with organisations on a case by case basis. Visit Victoria will be in touch in the coming weeks to discuss your individual circumstances.