While the coronavirus pandemic is expected to cost tourism along the Great Ocean Road more than $1 billion, a leading cafe owner is looking forward to hopefully opening in July.
Port Campbell 12 Rocks Beach bar Cafe owner Mick Hunt said that while the impact had been devastating for businesses reliant on the tourism route that he supported state and federal government restrictions.
"We've gone this far, let's be 100 per cent about easing restrictions. Now is not the time to go silly," he said.
Mr Hunt said a restriction of just 10 people at his cafe was too restrictive for him to swing back into action.
"I will not be rushing back in for 10 people as of June 1," he said.
"I'm thinking of the school holidays in the first couple of weeks of July if we could open up with 50 people.
"The domestic market could be enormous. People spend five times as much going overseas and that doesn't look like it will be an option any time soon.
"I think people will spend here. A lot of people have been saving up and I'm thinking the dog will be let off the chain as people travel and spend on the domestic market."
The cafe owner said there were lot of positives out of the pandemic.
"Politicians now realise the real value of tourism and hospitality, but we need to guarantee there's not going to be a second shutdown. That would be very tough. We need to ease restrictions properly," he said.
"Haven't we all learnt a lot? We're all washing our hands more, hygiene is much better, we've really been spoilt up until now.
"We've all sharpened up about a lot of things, it's been a real eyeopener.
"Everyone has been more thoughtful, more respectful. That's been a very welcome change."
Mr Hunt said up to 70 per cent of the Port Campbell's business was tied to tourism.
"Here is a lot different to places like Italy where everyone lives close together," he said.
"But, the closest contact here is in restaurants, on buses and trains. They are risks.
"Perhaps regional restrictions is something that should be more closely looked at, regional travel. It would be a great starting point to opening up."
The cafe owner of 13 years said operators in Port Campbell were being supportive of each other and jobkeeper was supporting his workers.
"Opening up will all happen eventually, but I think some of those business who were close to the edge will be gone," he said.
"In terms of a worldwide pandemic we couldn't be in a better position and you have to say the state and federal governments have done a pretty good job," he said.
Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism chairman Wayne Kayler-Thomson was reported as saying the region was preparing to lose as much as $1.3 billion in visitor expenditure this year.
"It's terribly upsetting. This is devastation," he said, adding it would take years for local economies to rebuild their businesses.
He said the summer was quieter than usual because international visitors were deterred by bushfires in Gippsland and Victoria's north-east.
Then the pandemic put a complete halt to the tourism industry.
"Our projection is that we will not recover to pre-pandemic levels of visitation until at least 2022/23," he said.
Mr Kayler-Thomson said 2000 businesses employing 12,000 people in the Great Ocean Road region were almost entirely dependent on the visitor economy.
He predicted up to 20 per cent of businesses would not survive, but said communities were not yet ready for a major visitor influx.
"Our communities don't want to be impacted by increases of visitors if there are health risks," he said.
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