Open Borders: How do businesses feel? - part three

TOURISM AND BUSINESS

Paul Bugeja

Guest Columnist

Email Paul
Like undecided Liked Like disabled
59%
Dislike Dislike undecided Dislike disabled
41%
Last updated:
Owners of Wavelength; John and Jenny Edmondson. Image: Supplied.
Like undecided Liked Like disabled
Dislike undecided Disliked Dislike disabled

As border reopenings appear imminent, Douglas businesses are preparing, so Newsport spoke to a few to see how they feel December (and beyond) might look like for them and the Shire.

Queensland has had its borders bolted shut for most of 2020, with Sydney and Victoria still locked out, and while this has had the positive effect of keeping Queensland virtually COVID-free, it has come at great economic cost.

But this looks set to change, and maybe as soon as December 1, bringing with it a potential influx of interstate travellers and a return to something more like normal for the Shire.

In part three of our businesses and border reopening series we talked the owners of Wavelength Reef Cruises.


Read part one and two of the series
- Open borders: how do businesses feel? - part one Sparrow
- Open borders: how do businesses feel? - part two LJ Hooker


With tourism being one of the Shire’s main economic drivers, the travel and tourism sector has been deeply affected by COVID-19,

And local tourism operators particularly have taken one of the biggest hits.

Jenny Edmondson, co-owner with husband John, of Wavelength Reef Cruises, has felt the impact hard, estimating that the year has yielded about 20% of the regular tourist intake.

And unfortunately for Wavelength, the push for locals to holiday locally, leading to some influx of local Queenslanders, has not overly changed things for Wavelength’s numbers because, as Jenny points out, “Queensland visitors can be quite ambivalent about the reef, having often already done a trip to experience it.”

So, it’s been a tough road for the business since the borders closed, and even more so given Wavelength accommodates a lot of Sydney-siders on its tours, while also having a research program it operates with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

Even with the prospect of borders opening, while Jenny hopes interstaters will be “desperate for some adventure and flock here in droves,” she isn’t so sure due to the way southern media makes so much of wet weather and tropical lows, which “could nip the enthusiasm in the bud quickly.”

Wavelength is already going above and beyond what is needed to ensure its operations are COVID-safe, including enforcing social distancing, providing sanitiser, ensuring longer soak times for gear, cleaning any other items that customers or staff regularly come into contact with and changing the menu from a buffet to individually wrapped food.

Despite the grim times the business has had to navigate, Jenny is trying to stay positive, seeing a potential December border opening as the chance to bring a little hope to everyone who has been affected by the closures, even if the lack of an exact date is making it hard to forward plan.

She does, however, hold some fears for 2021.

“Besides the one-wheel wonder at Xmas the region usually experiences,” she notes, “it’s a long time till April when we are likely to see proper visitation again.”



Submit a letter to the editor here.

* Readers are encouraged to use their full details to ensure letter legitimacy.


Send news tips and videos here


* Comments are the opinions of readers and do not represent the views of Newsport, its staff or affiliates. Reader comments on Newsport are moderated before publication to promote valuable, civil, and healthy community debate. Visit our comment guidelines if your comment has not been approved for publication.