“Do it for tourism” – that’s the message from local leaders, who have banded together to encourage locals to get vaccinated before our borders reopen.
There are now just three days left for people to get the jab in order to be fully protected by the time the Sunshine State reopens to the rest of the country on December 17.
Destination Gold Coast Chairman Paul Donovan is among those calling for Gold Coasters to roll up their sleeves, to ensure the city won’t be subject to any future lockdowns.
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“We are Australia’s number one holiday destination, and we need to be at the top of the list when it comes to vaccination rates as well,” he said.
“It’s also important that visitors feel secure when they arrive and enjoy everything the Gold Coast has to offer”.
The tourism body’s CEO Patricia O’Callaghan also backed the calls, admitting it’s “concerning” that the Gold Coast vaccination rates are lagging behind.
“The Gold Coast is a $5.9 billion tourism industry that one in six jobs rely on and every single Queenslander needs to play their part in getting vaccinated,” Ms O’Callaghan said.
“Get out there this weekend and get vaccinated… Do it for tourism. Do it for local business. Do it to freely travel again.”
It comes as a number of Surf Lifesaving Clubs and themeparks on the Gold Coast prepare to transform into pop-up vaccination hubs this weekend.
Broadbeach, Burleigh, Coolangatta, Miami and Southport are among the clubs taking part, along with Dreamworld, Sea World, Movie World and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
“We echo the comments from the government and are joining our industry leaders to encourage all Queenslanders to get vaccinated so we can get back to normal,” Village Roadshow Theme Parks COO Bikash Randhawa said.
The vaccine push comes as new figures from booking website Wotif.com.au show interest in accommodation on the Gold Coast has risen 235 per cent since the launch of the Queensland roadmap.
“Fully vaccinated Australians are counting the days until they can enjoy a Gold Coast summer holiday and we need to make sure we are ready for them,” Ms O’Callaghan said.
Queensland Airports Limited CEO Chris Mills said Gold Coasters could play a critical part in the reopening of borders by getting vaccinated as soon as possible.
“Most Gold Coasters are connected to tourism in one way or another or have family interstate or overseas,” Mr Mills said.
“To be able to travel freely once again, we need to get vaccinated,” he said.