The Gold Coast tourism industry is breathing a massive sigh of relief after the Queensland Government announced the Greater Brisbane lockdown would end at midday.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate has officially declared the city open for business and has encouraged “Brisbane-ites” to “grab their boardshorts and get down here” for the Easter long weekend.
“We have the best of the beaches, the best hinterland breaks and the best thrill rides,” the Mayor said.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
“It’s time to escape the lockdown and enjoy everything we have to offer.”
Mayor Tate said the Federal Government’s aviation support package was even more reason for tourists around the country to hop on a plane to the glitter strip, with 800,000 discount seats across Australia up for grabs.
“The main website search engines are running hot and the Gold Coast is the No 1 location so far as people searching for a great holiday,” he said.
“That doesn’t surprise me. When you see one-way fares from as little as $32 … that’s as cheap as a pizza and a beer so start booking.”
Around 50 flights are expected to touch down on the Gold Coast today alone, with dozens more across the long weekend.
Destination Gold Coast CEO Patricia O’Callaghan told myGC the announcement today is the “best outcome we could have had out of a really challenging and difficult situation”.
“There’s no doubt that there’s been an impact on our industry over the past few days, that lockdown has sent nervousness not just through the industry but to consumers and visitors who were looking at coming to the Gold Coast even though we were open for business,” Ms O’Callaghan said.
“This news was welcome today, its a really good message to the industry and I think the message we have all been saying to Australians everywhere about holding onto their bookings, I think that message has been getting through in terms of the airport numbers.”
Despite consumer confidence plunging in the wake of the Greater Brisbane lockdown, the Gold Coast Airport is set to record one of its busiest weekends in over a year this weekend.
About 15,000 passengers and more than 50 flights a day are anticipated.
“News of the Brisbane lockdown ending at 12pm today gives travellers confidence that their Easter plans will go ahead on the Gold Coast,” Queensland Airports Limited CEO Chris Mills said.
“This will be our busiest weekend since the borders first closed.
“Pre-COVID-19, we saw about 18,000 passengers a day through Gold Coast Airport and we are getting closer to this number again. The build-up has been rapid – in February we were operating at about 35 per cent of usual capacity.”