The Gold Coast’s already-struggling tourism industry is bracing for another massive hit to the pocket after all of Greater Sydney was declared a COVID-19 hotspot.
As of 1.00am this morning, travellers from Sydney, the Central Coast, Illawarra-Shoalhaven, and Nepean Blue Mountains have been blocked out of the Sunshine State due to the escalating COVID-19 situation on the Northern Beaches.
Queenslanders have been given until 1.00am Tuesday to get home, but any residents returning after that will be forced into hotel quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.
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The latest border closure is expected to cost the local economy around $200 million with fears it will be the final nail for many businesses.
Tourism leaders have already started to feel the effects, with cancellations flooding in fast.
Queensland Tourism Industry Council boss Daniel Geschwind told 7NEWS the latest closure comes as a major blow, with hotels and tourism operators just getting back on their feet.
“It is brutal… It’s been a terrible blow, its not the Christmas present we were hoping for and it certainly has taken us backwards when we were just rebuilding a bit of confidence,” he said.
“That’s probably the worst of this… the smashing of consumer confidence, not just for those from Sydney, but across the country everyone is now nervous about making bookings into the future and that’s what really is the cost of this”.
Gold Coast Aqua Duck operator Sarah Colgate said her team was bracing for an influx of tourists over the next couple of weeks, but that’s now all been thrown out the window.
“I did hear on the radio this morning that the Premier is saying that it could be months before the border is reopened, and and we really hope that it’s not months,” Ms Colgate said.
“We were looking quite good, we had a really good day on Saturday so we had a bit of hope… But yesterday afternoon everything just went wrong.
“We have had heaps of cancellations, people not knowing so they’re cancelling anyway.”
Ms Colgate said it’s been a terrible 24 hours for local hotels, who have been working overtime dealing with their own booking cancellations.
“I spoke to a number of hotels yesterday and their phones have not stopped with cancellations, and we’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars per hotel.”
She said tourism operators were finally “excited” for some form of business over the next couple of weeks.
“But unfortunately this morning it’s a completely different story,” Ms Colgate said.