A REPORT detailing the impact of last month’s controversial grand final eve public holiday across Gippsland’s tourism industry has come to light.
Conducted by tourism board Destination Gippsland, the report found local tourism businesses were divided on the additional 2 October holiday.
“We surveyed our tourism industry to see if it had a positive or negative impact and we found it was pretty much half and half (for and against),” Destination Gippsland chief executive Terry Robinson said.
Survey respondents were asked whether they considered the long weekend holiday had a positive or negative affect on their business and to describe the impact on their business.
Mr Robinson said half of those surveyed felt the public holiday added visitors and boosted business, namely the accommodation industry.
The other half, mostly comprising of retailers and small hospitality businesses including caf , said the holiday had a negative effect.
“It may have been a combination of the (public) holiday, school holidays and the weather,” Mr Robinson said.
“However because of the issue of penalty rates, small businesses felt it was a negative.”
Mr Robinson believed the public holiday was likely to continue, but was subject to a State Government decision.
“As a region and tourism industry we need to plan and prepare (for its continuation) to maximise benefits where we can,” Mr Robinson said.
“It doesn’t sound like it’s going anywhere.”
Caf 3847 & Co. owner Cathy Theodore, who previously spoke out against the holiday, said she closed on the day.
“Like a lot of hospitality businesses we couldn’t justify it (opening),” Ms Theodore said.
“We lost income and Friday is typically a busy day for us, so it hurt.”
Ms Theodore said while city businesses may strive, smaller regional businesses felt the impact.
“We’re not metropolitan, it’s like apples and oranges, you can’t compare the two,” she said.
Small Business Minister Philip Dalidakis said the holiday was an election promise the government delivered on and it was up to the individual business owner if they opened on the holiday.