Struggling tourism operators have staged a protest through the streets of the Gold Coast with a clear message to the Premier – open the borders.
The “Toot for Tourism” rally is part of a statewide protest calling on the State Government to give a firm date for restarting interstate travel.
Premier Annastacia Palasczuk confirmed on Sunday the border would remain shut for all of June and would be reviewed at the end of the month.
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The Government’s own recovery roadmap flagged July 10 for interstate travel, but the Premier is giving no guarantees after earlier signalling it could happen as late as September.
Tourism operators warn that will cost the Gold Coast economy another $500 million, and many businesses simply won’t survive that long.
Around 30 Gold Coast businesses took part in today’s car protest which snaked its way from the Spit to Surfers Paradise.
Aquaduck Managing Director Sarah Colgate says the Gold Coast is missing out on its traditional winter tourism boom.
“82 per cent of our business is domestic. It’s exceptionally important during this time of year when it gets colder down south, everyone comes to Queensland and this is when we truly shine,” Ms Colgate said.
“So we really, really want to see those travellers start making their way to Queensland now so they can enjoy our beautiful weather.”
Hot Air Gold Coast Regional Manager Greg Daven says the lack of certainty is having a detrimental impact.
“We’re hoping to see the borders opened but certainly a date for that opening and with that date gives both the operators here on the Gold Coast and also our customers throughout Australia certainty about booking a holiday and coming to beautiful sunny Queensland,” Mr Daven said.
“We’ll be happy with any date although stage three did mention the 10th of July, we’d like her just to stick with the 10th of July and give us that date and we can start working towards it.”
Infinity Attraction Group General Manager Tane Thompson is calling on the Premier to stand up and make a call now.
“We just want the Premier to make some crucial decisions and open the border up prior to July 10 if not earlier,” Mr Thompson said.
“The curve’s been flattened across Australia, absolutely smashed, it just seems illogical the decision she’s making in keeping tourism basically closed across Queensland.
“The domestic market in Sydney and Melbourne during these colder months, they all travel up here, it’s just under 10 per cent of people in Queensland work in tourism so no matter what people think, that’s a massive number of people working and if borders aren’t open, the jobs aren’t going to be there.”