The Department for Environment and Water (DEW) will provide fee and rent relief for nearly 300 South Australian nature-based tourism businesses which have been significantly impacted in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
Commercial tour operator (CTO) licence fees will be waived for six months from April 1. Rents for nature-based tourism businesses on Crown Land will also be waived.
CTO businesses in South Australia are hugely diverse providing nature-based tourism activities ranging from escorted bushwalking, camping, bus and coach tours to boating experiences and fishing.
The $850,000 fee and rent relief is part of the State Government’s $1 billion South Australian economic stimulus package to save local businesses and jobs.
More than 250 commercial tour operators including marine mammal and shark cage dive operators will benefit from the fee waiver and more than 30 tourism and hospitality sites will benefit from the rent relief.
Commercial tour operators have been impacted as a result of closing of the State's borders, travel restrictions and requirements for social distancing.
The rent and fee relief is part of the government’s plan to save local jobs and businesses in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
DEW Tourism and Economic Development Director Jo Podoliak said nature-based tourism businesses have been significantly impacted by coronavirus mitigation measures and the government is committed to supporting them through this difficult time.
“Many commercial tour operators rely on national parks or Crown Land to run their businesses and usually pay licence fees and lease properties,” Ms Podoliak said.
“By waiving these fees and rents we are easing the cash flow burden on businesses when they need it most and giving them the best opportunity to bounce back once after the pandemic.
“The eco-tourism industry will play an important role in South Australia’s economic recovery from the impacts of coronavirus as well as the summer’s devastating bushfires and this fee relief as well as our recent Parks 2025 investment will give a helping hand.”
The fee and rent relief for commercial tour operators will be funded from the State Government’s $650 million Jobs Rescue Package.
The fund will be used to directly assist individual businesses and industry sectors facing potential collapse and the loss of thousands of jobs due to the ongoing impacts of coronavirus and necessary new restrictions to limit its spread.
For further information about fee and rent relief for Nature-based tourism businesses, and other ways the department may be able to provide support, please email DEWTourism@sa.gov.au