Queensland is gearing up to welcome back Sydneysiders and Victorians, with today the last day of border restrictions and checkpoints.
Both New South Wales and Victoria are worth around $8 billion to Queensland’s tourism industry, a much missed injection this year.
Borders have been in place for around eight months, with various re-openings and closings throughout that time.
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Hesitant travellers down south are being told to have confidence that they can book and travel here safely.
“I urge people to book with confidence, at least because airlines, hotels, all of those companies have recognised that given the uncertainty that’s out there, there needs to be more flexible terms and conditions to be able to change your bookings, vary your terms, in case you find a disruption,” Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham told Sky this morning.
“I understand there’s a high degree of anxiety about whether or not a state like Queensland, that has shown a high propensity to whack the borders back in place at a moment’s notice, may disrupt those travel plans again.
“But for the sake of the tourism industry, I urge people to recognise the tourism businesses have pivoted, they’ve changed the terms and conditions, people should book with confidence knowing that should something unfortunate happen, they’ll get their money back, they’ll get another chance to have their trip, and get out there and support Australia’s tourism businesses because they sure as heck need it,” Minister Birmingham said.
While Gold Coast businesses are raring to go, eager to welcome back more tourists.
Local businesses reported a surge in bookings as soon as the border announcement was made, and are hoping a strong Christmas period kicks off a better new year.
Greg Daven from Hot Air Gold Coast told The Today Show they’ve desperately been needed fresh tourists.
“Probably about 85 percent of my business was international, so a you can imagine with a population of only around 4 or 5 million here in Queensland, that’s not going to cover the numbers that we would have received during this year.
“So to actually have an addition to that of the New South Wales and Victoria numbers is certainly going to add more people here.
“Hot air ballooning’s not something that you go back and do every other weekend, so having new people come through each week gives us opportunities to see our business grow again which is great,” Mr Daven said.