Robe (Australia) tourism operators claim that misinformation regarding COVID-19 exposure sites in the town is the reason for the “heartbreaking” number of cancellations in caravan parks and other accommodation sites.
Five exposure sites were listed for the tiny coastal town in the south-eastern region of South Australia last week, including two close contact locations.
There haven’t been any COVID cases linked to the exposure sites.
Despite the absence of COVID cases, the Robe accommodation providers stated that they had been “hemorrhaging” with cancellations in the last few days.
The secretary of the Robe Tourism Association, Lisa Hall, the owner of Sea Vu Caravan Park, stated that the cancellations were equivalent to “thousands and thousands of dollars.”
She claimed that misinformation contributed to the pain.
“We had several people call through yesterday that were at the border being told that Robe is a hotspot … and getting turned away,” she said.
“Robe isn’t an unofficial hotspot. We aren’t sure the source of this information from.”
Hall stated that the summer visitors were their bread and butter.
“If we don’t get a January and February trade—and December trade—we won’t survive for the year,” she said.
“So we hope that message is not getting relayed to anyone trying to cross the border.”
Robe BnB host Jamie Aitken also echoed hall’s claims.
Aitken estimated that there had been around AU$100,000 worth of cancellations during the weekend.
“At the weekends at the moment, this town is absolutely humming, but this weekend, it was dead,” Aitken said.
He also blamed social media misinformation and false statements by the authorities for the cancellations.
“A series of remarks that have been made on the media and social media [is] causing us a great deal of problems,” he said.
“People were told, ‘Don’t go the Robe, it’s a hotspot’.”
“This is shaping up to be a really disastrous problem for us all,” he continued.
“[It] will continue with further cancellations unless this incorrect information is jumped on as quickly as possible.” Aitken ended.