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Queensland theme parks cut opening hours as guest numbers decline

Queensland theme parks cut opening hours as guest numbers decline
February 19, 2021

With the park summer season now over and continued uncertainty over interstate travel, some of south east Queensland’s major theme parks are reducing their opening hours.

With school terms having recommenced, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Wet'n'Wild, WhiteWater World on the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast’s Aussie World are cutting the numbers of days of a week in which they will operate.

The Ardent Leisure owned WhiteWater World - located next to Dreamworld - has reverted to opening fromFriday to Sunday until the Easter holidays, while Wet’n’Wild will operate from Thursday to Sunday and Currumbin Sanctuary will open from Thursday to Monday.

Aussie World has also reduced trade to five days a week.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council Chief Executive, Daniel Gschwind said the moves showed that a return to business as normal was still a long way off, telling The Courier-Mail “it’s just an illustration of how much businesses big and small are struggling right now.

“The uncertainty around travelling and tourism has forced businesses to have a long look at how they do business now.”

With no sign of an upturn in tourism and international travel still restricted, tourism is set to be further impacted by the end of the Federal Government’s JobKeeper program from the end of March.

Amid widespread lobbying for ongoing pandemic funding by tourism industry stakeholders, Queensland Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said operators needed some hope from the Federal government.

Minister Hinchcliffe stated “theme parks show once again why the Federal Government can’t cut JobKeeper without targeted assistance to tourism operators while overseas visitors are locked out and international travel is in turmoil.”

Advising that attractions will need ongoing support to remain viable, Currumbin Sanctuary Chief Executive, Michael Kelly told The Courier-Mail “by consolidating our operating days into a five-day a week operation, we are still able to deliver the high level of service expected by our guests, while ensuring that we reduce our operating costs to help financially protect our important community asset into the future.”

With vaccines expected to be rolled out on the Gold Coast from next week, Destination Gold Coast Chief Executive, Patricia O'Callaghan said she hoped vaccines would provide relief to the embattled tourism industry.

O'Callaghan told the ABC "I can't believe we are here after 12 months of being in this (pandemic) situation

"To finally see that vaccine rolling out, and to know the Gold Coast will be among the first to roll it out, there is starting to be a light at the end of the tunnel."

O'Callaghan said it was a difficult time for the 4,600 tourism businesses on the coast, and vaccines would hopefully form part of a proposed multifaceted recovery package, “or a new normal, as everyone calls it.”

Images: Wet'n'Wild Gold Coast (top) and the Sunshine Coast’s Aussie World (below).

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3rd February 2021 - Ecotourism Australia highlights ending JobKeeper will see many businesses suffer

2nd February 2021 - Queensland Acting Premier calls for JobKeeper extension to support tourism industry

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26th January 2021 - Village Roadshow Theme Parks’ Michael Croaker launches Park Life podcast

14th January 2021 - TCWA says one in five Western Australian tourism businesses at risk if JobKeeper ends

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9th December 2020 - Sea World and QPWS staff combine to free dolphin after days trapped in North Stradbroke Island rock pool

9th December 2020 - BGH Capital confirmed as Village Roadshow’s new owners

8th December 2020 - Village Roadshow reveals new imagery for Sea World’s New Atlantis Precinct

27th November 2020 - Village Roadshow leads Queensland tourism operators in advertising summer positions

10th November 2020 - ATEC highlights that tourism exporters need JobKeeper support until international borders reopen

30th October 2020 - Aussie World heralds the return of night events

14th August 2020 - Ardent Leisure to reopen Dreamworld on 16th September

7th August 2020 - $70 million Queensland Government lifeline drives Ardent Leisure’s Dreamworld reopening announcement

18th July 2020 - Thousands back ATIC petition for retention of JobKeeper allowance

19th June 2020 - Tourism and Transport Forum calls for extension of JobKeeper for another six months

27th May 2020 - AALARA releases guide for the reopening of Australia’s attractions industry

19th May 2020 - Queensland Government provides emergency funding for theme parks and wildlife attractions

25th March 2020 - Currumbin Wildlife Hospital outlines lockdown activity as Zoos across the nation close

11th December 2019 - Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary introduces new water playground

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