What a week of mixed media coverage on impacts on business and our community in these changing and challenging times!

Hearing stories like iconic retailer KIKKI K going into administration, the US close off flights to Europe and seeing the seismic shift in travel, cruise, and even how we socialise locally is taking its toll.

Chamber members Westpac ran an interesting seminar on the impact of this change on wellness at work and the cost to business of absenteeism, and “presentism”. The overriding message is that we can’t afford to ignore the mental health aspects of long-term flight and fight responses in times of crisis.

Here in Fremantle, we have been lucky enough to see a positive up in these times of challenge and chance, with a multitude of cruise ships turning South rather than North over the last few weeks. The inner City seems to be alive with visitors early in the week as a result which was wonderful to see.

We have also seen announcements of the Federal and State Government economic stimulus packages overnight. We will be working with local industry stakeholders, and the City, to see what this might look like for Fremantle.

A lobster rescue plan was also announced by the Hon Peter Tinley, Minister for Fisheries this morning. This will extend the lobster catch season out to 30 June 2021 and allow a greater catch of 9,000 tonnes, as well as new measures for back of boat sales to improve local sale opportunities and allowing local businesses to access larger volumes of lobster direct from the fisheries. Who else can see an opportunity one step closer to a buy-from-boat fish market set up at Fishing Boat Harbour?

The City of Fremantle’s industry briefing on Wednesday morning showed the positive effects on the “Visit Fremantle” Campaign managed through the Destination Marketing Working Group had on Christmas Trade, engaging Cruise Ship Crews and strong work in the business events and leisure tourism international business sector.

This should also see dividends in Tourism WA’s re-think of their marketing campaign launched this week #DOitinWA – a unique offer based campaign encouraging local people to use this time to plan their road trip of a lifetime and holiday local. Staycation is Fremantle and an overnight to Rottnest should be first on all of our agendas!

I attended Tourism WA’s 2030 Strategy Planning Workshop this morning – not an easy task to think 10 years ahead in the current climate. Especially when it is hard to imagine what tomorrow will bring! That said, it was positive to see some common threads in the room in desires for game changes and targets for visitation to WA. Ideas around creating and promoting unique destination experiences, stronger transport connections between attractions and regional centres, protecting our heritage and environment and reducing our risks by ensuring a good spread between different overseas, local and Interstate markets were all raised. A new micro site is due to be launched and Fremantle Tourism businesses who haven’t already had their say, or would like to comment further, are encouraged to email 2030Tourism@WesternAustralia.com.

Here at the Chamber, we have a big month of conversations ahead as we begin our engagement and lobbying with stakeholders around southern corridor transport infrastructure into Fremantle, activating and protecting our upper stories and underutilised assets in the City and the visitor experience through our visitors centre, improved wayfinding and entry statements into our Port City.

We kicked this off with our annual round table with the City of Fremantle Mayor, Executive and Councillors and the Fremantle Chamber Board yesterday evening. A productive and important session for sharing our goals for Fremantle business.

I also met with the Minister for Transport’s Office yesterday on the appetite for conversations around coastal and southern corridor transport infrastructure to create better links to our southern marine and industrial corridor, North Coogee and Cockburn and our Fremantle City Centre. We will continue to progress these ideas arising from our Development and Infrastructure (D&I) Committee in the lead up to a decision on Westport.

We encourage all of our members to be part of these conversations. We have some great sector focussed events coming up in the next month or so that will provide these opportunities.

Hop online now to WAITLIST for our booked out marine and engineering focused tour of the Australian Marine Complex Common User Facility next Thursday or REGISTER using your free member code for our Perth Advertising and Design Club partnership event LISTEN-COMMUNE at Freo.Social next month (FREE Chamber member coupon code is FCCMEMBER). The Listen-Commune event will be a great chance to bring together our incredible local creative sector and hear from the incredible panel line up that we have put together for your listening pleasure.

We are also looking forward to meeting with those keen to learn more about our export markets, our local exporters, traders and agents and hear detail on what to expect in our rapidly changing exporting landscape.  Join us, in partnership with Westpac and Export Finance Australia, on Wednesday 22 April for breakfast at the Fremantle Sailing Club with impressive guest speaker Cassandra Winzenried, Export Finance Australia’s Chief Economist.

Finally, next month’s Set the Month in Motion, supported by the City of Fremantle’s Business Capacity Building Program, is now live. The topic and panel is very relevant in a world that is requiring more and more remote engagement with our customers – “Marketing in a Visually Sophisticated World”. Join the wonderful Claire Davies, from Scotter Projects and ex-Editor of Sunday Times Magazine and Leah Dent, graphic design and visual mastermind for what is guaranteed to be a practical and fun conversation.

I’ll see you all down at Victoria Quay as we Paint the Port on Saturday.

For more industry updates click HERE to be directed to our Chamber Weekly.