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Brisbane Coronavirus outbreak causing massive uncertainty for tourism and events over Easter
Greater Brisbane's current three-day lockdown and the potential spread of Coronavirus in Queensland is causing massive uncertainty for tourism and events as the Easter long weekend approaches.
Media reports about Australians planning to travel to Queensland for the upcoming holidays advise that people have been “cancelling their bookings hand over fist”, as a result of state border restrictions.
Having been looking for Easter as a point of revival, tourism in Queensland is expected to lose $35 million by the end of Easter as a result of the latest spike in community transmissions of Covid-19, according to predictions from industry bodies including the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF).
Ahead of the first phase of the Federal Government-subsidised half-price flights going on sale on Thursday, Long and Osmond have warned confidence to travel to Queensland has plummeted out of fear from travellers they could have to enter hotel quarantine if border conditions tighten while they are on holiday.
Four of the 13 destinations, which are part of the Federal Government’s $1.2 billion tourism support package, are located in Queensland.
The tourism bodies, who were initially critical that the Federal Government’s post-JobKeeper support for the sector focused on aviation jobs, have again called for ongoing wage support for the industry as hopes of a “fantastic Easter” for Queensland are crushed.
Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, the ACT and Northern Territory had moved in a variety of ways to restrict or outright ban incoming travel from Brisbane, or the state, over the growing cluster.
While Brisbane is in a strict three-day lockdown, the spread of Coronavirus to Byron Bay in Northern NSW has created fears as to whether this weekend’s Bluesfest will go ahead.
While organisers of the Bluesfest last night sought to reassure the three-day event would go ahead over the weekend, risk of Coronavirus transmission at several venues in the popular holiday destination are reportedly of concern to NSW Health.
Predicting that the outbreak would cost Queensland’s tourism sector $35 million, and that while domestic tourists had been “cancelling their bookings (to Queensland) hand over fist”, it ultimately affected confidence to travel anywhere, TTF Chief Executive, Margy Osmond told the Guardian “without a doubt it damages confidence across the board in taking any kind of leisure holiday. It also dampens the willingness of people to travel for business.”
Noting that capital cities and north Queensland had suffered the most from the lack of international tourists, and advising that tourism businesses in these regions would have already “ramped up employment in anticipation of this long weekend”, Osmond urged governments to “significantly ramp up vaccine rollouts” to increase confidence to travel so international borders could be opened sooner.
She also renewed calls for further wage assistance to the tourism sector, warning it was “bleeding expertise” and that the industry “could find ourselves half our size” when international borders reopen.
Images: Brisbane's South Bank (top), the Bluesfest site in 2019 (middle) and TTF Chief Executive, Margy Osmond (below).
29th March 2021 - Greater Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown after new COVID-19 case
28th March 2021 - Industry sectors set for job losses as JobKeeper ends
20th March 2021 - Industry Panel formed to chart Queensland tourism industry recovery
11th March 2021 - Bluesfest team share their excitement for the return of live music
18th February 2021 - COVID-19 Safety Plan approved for 2021 Bluesfest
1st February 2021 - Queensland tourism industry anticipates Easter boost from Sydney visitors
6th December 2020 - TTF study shows Australians plan holidays close to home
27th November 2020 - Village Roadshow leads Queensland tourism operators in advertising summer positions
31st August 2020 - $11.3 million funding boost announced for Far North Queensland tourism
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