Douglas tourism reacts to Sydney lockout
Yesterday’s decision by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to slam the border shut on over five million Sydneysiders has come as another blow to the tourism industry.
Greater Sydney’s 34 local government areas were declared COVID-19 hotspots and from 1:00am on Saturday, people from that area will not be allowed to enter the Sunshine State.
Queensland residents returning home from Sydney after Saturday will have to isolate in a hotel for 14 days at their own expense.
With Victoria, one of the Far North’s biggest tourism markets already banned, many tourism operators had been banking on visits from Sydneysiders.
Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree (TPDD) CEO, Tara Bennett, said yesterday’s news was “gutting”.
“We can understand why these decisions are being made, Queensland has maintained a good track record with COVID, but tourism is paying a high price,” she said.
“It’s gutting from an economic point of view.
“There will be a lot of cancellations from travellers that would have been arriving in the next few weeks.”
Ms Bennett said TPDD will continue to lobby for further support for the industry and are identifying other tourism opportunities.
“We continue to look for the opportunities that remain including South Australia with flights from Adelaide being reinstated from Saturday and flights from Gold Coast, Perth, and Darwin scheduled from September.”
Managing Director of Paradise Links Resort in Port Douglas, Liz Schibig-Edgar, said she is already seeing a number of cancellations from Sydney residents.
“It’s devastating to hear; it’s obviously put what was a very fragile situation in tourism already, at an even greater risk,” she said.
“It’s another blow that we have to deal with. We understand the health concerns, but the real economic impacts are just so unknown.
“I’m hopeful it won’t last too long and we can still retain some of the September October bookings.”
While numbers are down for this time of year, without Victoria and now Sydney, Ms Schibig-Edgar said she is starting to see other markets emerge.
“We are getting some interest now from Western Australia and South Australia which is lovely.
“We are also getting a few up from southern Queensland.”
Ms Schibig-Edgar added it has also been encouraging to see interest from booking agents and tour companies who usually sell international trips, start turning their focus to the Far North.
Kelvin Brown from Port Douglas Water Sports said the next few weeks will be telling.
“Fingers crossed that it gets under control before the next school holidays,” he said.
“It’s a real relief that JobKeeper has been extended through to March. It will prop a lot of people up for the time being.”
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