“Hope is all we have” is the message from Destination Gold Coast, as it looks forward to the next stage of border openings within Australia.
The tourism body was left shattered after the Queensland Premier announced that Sydney would still be kept out of the Sunshine State last week.
But a quiet optimism has returned, after news that many Gold Coast tourism operators experienced an upturn in bookings when regional New South Welshman were officially allowed back.
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Destination Gold Coast Chairman Paul Donovan’s told myGC it’s a good sign, but nowhere near enough.
“Obviously Greater Sydney hasn’t opened yet, but the other parts of New South Wales are opened up and we’ve seen a slight upturn.
“The weekends have been terrific, but during the week it falls away.
“We’re seeing people from northern New South Wales and Brisbane area coming down, and we want more of those to support our local operators.
“But I think now, we’re going to have flights start from Newcastle, people from Woolongong can drive to Sydney airport and fly up.
“And we’re very hopeful that the borders will open soon in total from New South Wales particularly.
“We’ve got to have hope, the Christmas holidays coming up are usually our busiest time,” Mr Donovan said.
It comes as Destination Gold Coast prepares to launch a massive $3.5 million campaign to target New South Wales.
It was supposed to go hard in the area of Sydney, but has now been slightly scaled back.
Destination Gold Coast also has very active campaigns in Adelaide, Canberra, Cairns and Townsville.
Paul Donovan says everything is in place for each internal and external border reopens, but it will be a ‘long haul’ to get the tourism industry back to where it was.
“We are hopeful, but yesterday I was out and about and there’s a lot of people around. I agree there’s an upturn, but we’re not there by a long way yet.
“The airport at the Gold Coast is still just 3 or 4 flights a day when it used to be just 64. We’ve got a long way to go and its going to be a long haul.
“Hope is all we’ve got at the moment, I keep saying to people this is a detour not a dead end, let’s work towards when it opens, it’s going to bounce back and bounce back hard,” Mr Donovan said.