Ansett still biting

MORE than six months after the collapse of Ansett, WA businesses are still hurting.

A telephone poll of 142 senior managers and executives across industries in WA over the past two weeks has found 23.2 per cent were being directly hurt by the collapse.

Respondents blamed increased freight costs, lack of available seats and a drop in tourism numbers on the current difficulties their business faced.

Of those effected, 18 per cent had a commercial arrangement with Ansett or were in the hotel, or travel insurance business.

However, less than 5 per cent had lost their tickets through the collapse.

Tourism Council of Australian WA president and WA Business News 40 under 40 winner Manny Papadoulis said he thought 25 per cent was “about right”.

He actually thought more businesses would have been effected.

“Every tourism business was effected by the collapse. What follows from that is all the business that are indirectly hit. It has a domino effect”

He said an obvious example was in his family business Feature Tours, which has ordered fewer tyres for its bus fleet since September.

Mr Papadoulis said the collapse could not have come at a worse time for the industry. Approximately 30 per cent to 40 per cent of its takings come during the September quarter. If the collapse had occurred in winter, Perth tourism would have hardly been hurt.

“But I believe every cloud has a silver lining. I think this time round people are seeing the benefits of tourism. It has really hit home,” he said.

Australian Hotel Association executive director Bradley Woods said one of the biggest downsides to the fall out was the loss of skilled labour in the hospitality industry as employees moved into other industries.

He said over the past year around 18 hotels had closed down, gone into receivership or were suffering financial hardship, much of it being a result of Ansett.

“It will be hard to put a time frame on when we will be completely over it,” Mr Woods said.

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