Busselton Jetty lends a hand to North West tourism operators

Busselton Jetty marketing and events coordinator Hali Townsend, train driver Ray Baldisseri and chief executive officer Lisa Shreeve.
Busselton Jetty marketing and events coordinator Hali Townsend, train driver Ray Baldisseri and chief executive officer Lisa Shreeve.

Busselton Jetty is lending a hand, or a whale shark fin, to the Ningaloo tourism industry, following recent controversy over the South West opening for tourists from Perth before the North West.

The Busselton Jetty Train started last Monday when regional borders to Perth, Peel, Great Southern and the Wheatbelt reopened.

However the North West border controls are still in place, restricting tourism to people already within the MidWest, Gascoyne and Pilbara areas.

Busselton Jetty chief executive officer Lisa Shreeve said she had been in contact with many close friends who ran tourism businesses in the North West, with every one of them indicating the financial impact of COVID-19 on their peak season was potentially disastrous.

So the Busselton Jetty team brainstormed ideas on how they could help.

"We really feel for our fellow tourism operators up north, and we wanted to make a contribution to help the industry get back on its feet," she said.

"We happen to have a very cool fully-automated whale donations box that visitors the Jetty love.

"So, in the coming weeks we thought we would ask everyone visiting the jetty to consider donating a gold coin to Adopt Stumpy the Ningaloo Whale Shark, and promote swimming with a whale shark to holiday-makers from all over Australia.

"All funds raised will be then sent to Australia's Coral Coast, who will then develop and launch a marketing campaign to achieve this."

Australia's Coral Coast chief executive officer David O'Malley said the regional tourism organisation would match each donation dollar for dollar.

"This is an excellent initiative by the Busselton Jetty and a great example of collaboration between regions during what is a very difficult time for our tourism industry," he said.

"The funds will be used specifically for encouraging West Australians to experience one of Australia's 'Bucket List' activities while holidaying in their own state."

Sonia Beckwith from Live Ningaloo said this initiative that involved both north and south was so refreshing, especially at a time like this.

"We really thank the team at Busselton Jetty for all of their unrelenting creative efforts to prop up the north and the tourism industry everywhere," she said.

Busselton Jetty was the first in the tourism industry in WA to provide virtual tours online to promote the state through the recent COVID shutdown.

The team then worked with WA website designer Squid Productions to set up a national website Virtually Australia that enabled all tourism businesses to load their online tours onto one platform to promote around the world.

"When we look back at COVID, we want to be proud that we were able to give back or contribute in some way throughout what has been a very challenging time for all," Ms Shreeve said.