Open Borders: How do businesses feel? - part two


Paul Bugeja

Guest Columnist

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Managing director of Port Douglas LJ Hooker, Michael Samson, has seen a mixed bag of good and bad in the real estate game recently. Image: Karlie Brady.
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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.

In part two of our businesses and border reopening series we talked to Managing director of Port Douglas LJ Hooker, Michael Samson, who has seen a mixed bag of good and bad for his business over the last months.

Read part one here - Open borders: how do businesses feel? - part one

“Our residential sales and rental markets have been very strong with large numbers of sales transactions taking place,” said Michael when asked about the positives, even during the time of stricter border closures.

But the other side of the tale isn’t so rosy, with other aspects of the business negatively impacted, specifically holiday letting and commercial/retail management.

Looking forward to December 1 and beyond, Michael is preparing for what might end up being a busier than usual traditional holiday season, which he hopes means Port will prosper from Aussies who are unable to travel overseas for their holidays instead eyeing off domestic locations such as Port and the Shire.

Property owners could also benefit.

“There are reports of large numbers of people looking to move to Queensland on a permanent basis as soon as they can,” said Michael, the corollary of which could be a positive for local sellers in the market as “the combination of the influx of new residents, record low interest rates and government incentive boosts to build may result in an upward pressure on local real estate prices.”

The only dampener that Michael anticipates could be airlines not increasing capacity enough to Cairns, although looking ahead at flight schedules, from early December Jetstar is advertising three direct flights a day to Melbourne and four to Sydney compared to the November schedule of just three flights each week.

In terms of preparing for a possible visitor influx, Michael believes most of the initiatives to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 will remain in place for some time, and with the large office space he and his staff occupy, practices like social distancing while at work are no issue. He also remains optimistic about the future.

“Port Douglas and the region has its “faithful” visitors who holiday here year after year. This is a massive opportunity for the region to embrace a whole new generation of people who previously may not have had North Queensland on their radar to visit.” He said.

See how other businesses are feeling in part three of the series in coming days.

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