Far North Queensland has a confidence problem: Entsch
Consumer confidence continues to be shattered by the Queensland Government’s border uncertainty, the constant roadblocks, shifting of goalposts, its excuses and this confidence is not likely to return by Easter 2022.
In a speech to Parliament on Thursday, Federal Member for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch, called on the Queensland government to seriously look at this impact as we get closer to achieving our vaccination goals. Please, start by giving us an end date and sticking to it,” he said.
“Tourism and Tropical North Queensland CEO Mark Olsen has, sadly, informed me this week that consumer confidence is at an all-time low across Australia for travel to Cairns, and, unfortunately, some of that is a reflection of the recently announced South African COVID variant.
“This consumer confidence unfortunately will not return, they understand, until Easter 2022.
Sadly, last weekend, with that uncertainty surrounding the omicron strain, countless forward bookings for the Christmas and New Year period were cancelled because of concerns about more state-enforced border closures.
“I’ve constantly said that Cairns and the Far North Queensland does not have a tourism problem; it has a confidence problem, and this confirms it,” said Entsch.
On the flipside, said Entsch, interest from international visitors is absolutely surging.
“Olsen informs me that there are more than 50,000 inquiries a month from the UK alone, followed by Europe, the US and New Zealand, from people wanting to visit Cairns.
“There’s absolutely no doubt that Cairns and Far North Queensland remain Australia’s premier international holiday destination, and it will be a key player in the nation’s post-pandemic tourism recovery.
“Pre-pandemic, the Cairns and Far North Queensland tourism industry contributed $1 billion of tax revenue per annum and supported more than 25,000 jobs.
“I have no doubt at all, given the resilience of the area, that we will recover; it’s just a matter of when,” he said.
Given all the challenges that the industry has faced over the last 12 months or more, it was very pleasing to see Far North Queensland businesses recognised at the recent Queensland Tourism Industry Council awards in Brisbane.
Steve and Katrina Edmondson from Sailaway in Port Douglas won the Tour and/or Operators award in recognition of their world-class sailing and snorkelling adventures in the waters of Port Douglas.
“Steve and Katrina have more than three decades of experience in the marine tourism industry. In fact, Steve and Katrina were pioneers in sailing and snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, and this award is certainly thoroughly deserved.”
Full speech: Cairns and Far North Queensland Tourism – Warren Entsch MP
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