Now that the Premier has locked in a border reopening date, Gold Coast businesses are preparing to reignite and get on the road to recovery.
It comes after the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed that the state borders will reopen as planned on July 10, albeit with a couple of exceptions.
Victorians will not be welcomed into the state, but aren’t completely banned. They’ll be made to fork out for their own hotel quarantine period should they choose to come here.
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While other visitors will be made to sign a border declaration stating they haven’t been to Victoria within the past two weeks.
Related article: QLD BORDER REOPENING: Everything you need to know
Destination Gold Coast has had their interstate marketing campaigns ready for weeks now, and are ecstatic to finally ‘push the button’ to launch them.
CEO Annaliese Battista says it’s been a difficult time for tourism operators, but they’re confident businesses can get back on track.
“It really is difficult to overstate the devastating financial and of course emotional impact on the tourism sector who’ve really been doing it tough over the last 5 months.
“In real terms the border closures have cost Gold Coast’s tourism economy about $310 million a month.
“Overall with the Covid crisis, we expect that in 2020 there’ll be up to a 74 percent financial loss to Gold Coast tourism sector, down from the highs of 2019, where the sector injected $5.9 billion into the local economy,” Ms Battista told myGC.
“Today we’ll press the button on our multi million dollar campaign to attract interstate tourists from New South Wales in particular, and other Australian states, of course with the exception of Victoria.
“Throughout this period we’ve had to remain really flexible and adaptive to changes in travel restrictions and social distancing measures, and so we’ve had our campaigns ready to go and we’re just delighted to press the button,” she said.
There are concerns that Victorians will be able to flout the rules and come into Queensland anyway, with the Member for Tweed Geoff Provost even writing to the Qantas CEO warning of the ‘back door entrance’ that Ballina airport has provided.
“With the virtual closure of the Gold Coast airport, your subsidiary Jetstar is currently unloading more than 3000 Victorian passengers a week at Ballina Airport,” Mr Provost wrote in an open letter to Alan Joyce.
“The only health check performed is a non-contact temperature measurement, with no passengers refused debarkation.
“This strikes me as corporately irresponsible. Many of these Victorians proceed north unchecked, either staying in the Tweed area I represent or passing through the backdoor into Queensland,” the letter reads.
But Queensland’s Tourism Minister Kate Jones says the state government is well aware of how people may try to break the rules, and says every measure is being taken before July 10 to ensure it can’t happen.
“We’ve proven that we can monitor our border, we’ll also be increasing significantly the penalties for anyone who breaches the rules including up to 4,000$ dines and also imprisonments.
“So we’re making it very tough for Victorians who break the rules,” Ms Jones told myGC.
While CEO of the Gold Coast Airport Chris Mills is also excited to begin welcoming back more interstate flights, but warns it will still be months before flight routes return to pre-Covid levels.
“Opening the Queensland border to all states and territories except Victoria is a positive step towards economic recovery for the aviation and tourism sectors, and the state’s economy more generally.
“The Queensland Government has struck a sensible compromise that will see interstate visitors back on the Gold Coast and in Queensland. We look forward to welcoming holiday makers soon.
“The border closure has created a significant economic impact, causing business to close and jobs to be lost. Conditions should improve from July 10.
“There is pent up demand for travel, but recovery will still take some time. We don’t expect a return to the flight schedules we saw before the pandemic for a while,” Mr Mills said in a statement.