Staying strong through the hard times, and now the indescribable times.
A question we’ve been getting a lot lately is “How are you managing with COVID?”, our standard response is “Better than expected, but still not good.”
Let’s face it, aviation activities are seen by most as a luxury and we just don’t have the population in Western Australia to properly support the local tourism industry. The people of Western Australia have been great, with many people swapping their European holiday for a Western Australian Adventure. But with limited numbers and snap lockdowns, we would be lying if we said it wasn’t tough.
Que April 11th and Cyclone Seroja hitting Kalbarri. Now the hard COVID times have just been supersized. We are extremely lucky that our aircraft and hanger survived, but the town office where most of our supplies are stored and the units we manage have not done so well.
The response the town has received has mostly been positive with people showing a spirit of togetherness and supporting the town that survives on tourism. There have been a few very disappointing behaviours by some, but the majority have shown care and understanding – some even going above and beyond to support the town.
To those people who have supported the town and will show support in future – Thank you.
We have had visits from both levels of Government in a show of solidarity and support, and that support is welcomed, and we are thankful for it. We would like to do a special thanks to the local state member MLA Vincent Catania, who spent many days in the Shire of Northampton helping with the clean-up and giving people in the area much needed support.
So, what happens now?
Some operators are able to run business as usual, while some are in the process of rebuilding. Unfortunately, the Kalbarri Visitors Centre has had to close for a few months, due to the mass cancelations they needed to process within a fortnight of the area being hit by Cyclone Seroja. Hopefully, they will be back up and running soon. The operators that received lighter damage will hopefully be up and running before Christmas. For those who received structural damage, it may take a few years to rebuild. Thankfully the town is swarming with trades that are there to get the Shire of Northampton rebuilt as quickly and safely as possible.
As we are able to operate, we have been doing what we can with special charters available to residents and those assisting the rebuild. We are also looking to start a list of businesses that are operating and update it regularly.
What people can do for the Shire of Northampton and other tourism businesses around the world is, continue to be kind. We ask that people show compassion to an industry that was the first in the line of COVID fire. We ask that people take vouchers when they can and try and claim travel insurance when they can’t. You can get travel insurance for domestic travel, so that way if a tourism business has something happen to them, like a cyclone, you can claim the hundreds you spent on your insurance and save the operator some of the thousands of dollars in refund requests.
The best way for us to stay strong, is for us to do it together.
Safe travels – Nationwest Aviation