Gold Coast Tourism ‘hanging by a thread’ through another dismal holiday period

Tourism leaders will be carrying out a walk and talk with Gold Coast operators today, to mark a dismal World Tourism Day.

Visitor expenditure is now down almost a billion dollars for the September quarter, with businesses set to lose $326 million in September alone.

The school holidays were hoped to bring a bit of a boost, but it’s been revealed that occupancy rates are only at around 40 per cent.


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Destination Gold Coast CEO Patricia O’Callaghan has told Sunrise that today’s Tourism Day won’t be the usual celebration at all.

The reality is that this is industry hanging on by a thread. 

“We have taken a $3.2 billion hit, but in the September quarter, we are forecast to lose another billion dollars. So it’s heartbreaking but we continue to push on.

“We need the vaccine rolling out sooner rather than later,” Ms O’Callghan said. 

There are concerns that the hesitancy from Queensland to commit to reopening borders at the 80 per cent vaccination mark, could mean tourism businesses don’t see any traffic at Christmas either.

Destination Gold Coast CEO Patricia O’Callaghan says that would be devastating.

“I know all other operators would love nothing more than to welcome our visitors back for Christmas, we understand the state and Federal Government are in discussions, we are hopeful the discussions will mean that we can welcome back visitors sooner rather than later, because looking at the September school holidays alone, it hasn’t transpired,” Ms O’Callaghan told Sunrise.

“We are sitting at 40% occupancy across the period, and for September alone, we are down 68% in visitors on pre-COVID levels, so we are leading and we are hopeful for our future, but we need to get through the next 100 days in particular.

“I say to every Queenslander if you’re looking at our industry, we are checking in on them.

“These are the people that are hanging on by a thread, these are the people laying awake at night trying to find out how to put food on the table, and these people that really need every Queensland are to get out there, get a jab and give us hope for survival.

“We really need all of you, and the vaccination is the only key to survival here,” Ms O’Callaghan said.