Why intrastate travel is urgent for Gympie business, tourism
GYMPIE business leaders have joined the chorus of voices urging the Palaszczuk Government to fast-track the lifting of state travel restrictions in time for the winter holiday season.
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The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) spoke out this week in support of reintroducing intrastate travel to “give businesses and consumers the ability to start planning and importantly spending across the state”.
The Courier-Mail reports revealed a new analysis showed “more than 80 per cent of the domestic visitors to some regional centres are Queenslanders touring their home state”.
“If state-based travel is announced now in time for the school holidays, people can book time off, plan their trip, book their accommodation and be spending in a range of businesses, which will be a gigantic boost for our economy,” CCIQ’s Amanda Rohan told The Courier-Mail.
“There are regions in Queensland which have had no new COVID-19 cases for weeks, some have never had any cases … they are ready to get back to business.”
The Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service, which also includes Gympie and Noosa, officially became free of active coronavirus cases yesterday.
The Gympie Local Government Area only acquired four total cases of the virus.
Gympie Chamber of Commerce president Tony Goodman said a rapid reintroduction of intrastate travel was a “no-brainer”.
“It’s got to be opened up ASAP, as far as intrastate goes,” Mr Goodman said.
“Because of the impact on the tourism operators and the hospitality sector, and with Queensland being in an excellent situation with the curve being suppressed, we should be in pole position for that.”
The government’s roadmap to easing coronavirus restrictions will allow recreational travel up to 250km when stage two kicks in on June 12, but no further until at least July 10.
That could hinder chances for an earlier recovery for the Gympie region’s business and tourism sector, as 87 per cent of Wide Bay residents reportedly travel “in their home state as a percentage of the region’s domestic tourism market”.
Mr Goodman said the local Chamber would support a fast-tracked restart given the successful social distancing practises used so far.
“If the message keeps getting out there that social distancing keeps going on, I think people are becoming quite savvy with that now,” he said.
“I think they should be giving it a good crack.”
Mr Goodman said a regional tourism taskforce involving Gympie Regional Council would meet today to hear ideas and plans on a restart.
Gympie Regional Council and Destination Gympie Region have been contacted for comment.