NSW influx: Sunshine Coast ready for tourism boost
SUNSHINE Coast's struggling tourism operators are hoping the floodgates open and a hoard of NSW tourists rush in with welcome news the borders will reopen.
Visit Sunshine Coast chair David Ryan has supported the State Government's "encouraging and positive" decision to open the border next month to all states other than Victoria.
Mr Ryan said it would offer a tremendous boost to the hard hit sector, which would in turn flow on to other sectors.
Queensland's border will remain closed to Victoria and strengthened from this Friday with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirming she has "very big concerns" about community transmission.
From July 10, visitors from New South Wales, South Australia, Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania and Northern Territory will be able to enter Queensland after filling in documentation.
Mr Ryan said he "fully understood" the State Government's decision and appreciated how difficult it would have been.
"We are confident that the travel situation can be managed effectively," Mr Ryan said. "Eventually we would like to see the Victorian market opened up, but only when it is safe to do so.
"The decision to open the border with New South Wales will be a massive fill-up for the local industry because the situation was looking rather grim for many operators after the school holidays.
"This is when we normally receive considerable long-stay business - sometimes for up to a month or more - from interstate and New Zealand visitors, and while that will be difficult to reactivate in the short-term, the border announcement sends the right signals for airlines to reintroduce direct flights to the Sunshine Coast, and for travellers to start making plans."
Health Minister Steven Miles said if border restrictions had been relaxed earlier, Victorian cases may have been brought to Queensland.
His message to Queenslanders was: "Please do not go to there (Victoria), Victorians, please do not come here until these outbreaks are under control."
"There is no interstate rivalry, we need to work together to suppress this virus," Mr Miles said.
Mr Ryan said the Coast had gone through one of the worst periods of tourism decline in recent decades and that even once the borders reopened, recovery would be slow.
"To accelerate the process we have put together a new community initiative that we will announce tomorrow that will highlight why the Sunshine Coast should be the first choice for domestic travellers," he said.
"We also have the new Alliance Cairns-Sunshine Coast air route that launches in mid-July, and opens up a new market for the Sunshine Coast.
"We would also congratulate the Premier on her Government's decision to increase capacity for weddings, concerts, restaurant and other venues.
"It reflects how hard the Queensland community has worked to reduce the threat of COVID."