Queensland’s struggling tourism operators are taking extraordinary measures as the border blockades continues.
Queensland’s struggling tourism operators are taking extraordinary measures as the border blockades continues.

‘Not helpful’: Hotels knock back Victorians until border opens

SOME Queensland hotel operators are refusing to take holiday bookings from Victoria as uncertainty continues over the Sunshine State's border barriers.

While Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Friday hinted that borders "could" reopen to Victoria before Christmas, it is a punt some hotel operators are not willing to take, instead choosing to refuse bookings from Victoria in case they are forced into a rush of last-minute refunds heading into the vital Christmas holiday period.

 

Queensland's controversial hard line stance on borders has been credited with helping the tourism industry here fare better than any other state, but operators are growing increasingly frustrated at the lack of definitive dates to reopen borders to Sydney and the state of Victoria.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: Patrick Woods
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: Patrick Woods

The state's tourism industry, a $26 billion juggernaut last year, has already bled almost $8b this year, with estimates the damage could top $15b before the threat of the pandemic is over.

Visitors from Sydney and Victoria pump an average of $20 million a day into the Queensland economy - money tourism operators sorely need after the bleakest of years.

But, even in the desperate times, operators who did not wish to be identified admitted they were not accepting bookings from Victoria until they have certainty over the state of travel restrictions.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Daniel Gschwind conceded the continued uncertainty was 'not helpful' for people wanting to plan Christmas holidays.

"The more certainty we can introduce the better," he said.

"You can understand why some operators would be nervous taking bookings if they are going to be forced to give refunds heading into Christmas."

Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Daniel Gschwind. Picture: Peter Wallis
Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Daniel Gschwind. Picture: Peter Wallis

Ms Palaszczuk yesterday said Queensland's borders "could" reopen to Victoria before Christmas as she described the early signs of the Garden State's COVID recovery as "very encouraging".

She again stressed she would listen to Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young's advice and said it would be important to monitor Victoria's community transmission rates in the coming weeks.

"They're coming out of lockdown," she said.

"They're not moving around freely like we are in Queensland.

"So one step at a time."

Ms Palaszczuk said the regular monthly border review process would not change.

"That's what we've done since the very beginning," she said.

"That's what we've decided to do and it gives people certainty."

Police at the Queensland border on the Gold Coast Highway. Picture: Nigel Hallett
Police at the Queensland border on the Gold Coast Highway. Picture: Nigel Hallett

With the return of flights from Newcastle into the Gold Coast yesterday, Glitter Strip Mayor Tom Tate said he was happy that the border was now opened to more of NSW.

"But my happiness will be completely fulfilled when we are opened up to all of NSW," he said.

"I continue to support the expert, health advice on these measures, but my heart cries out for the border to be opened as soon as possible."

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said many struggling businesses and employees impacted by the border decisions had told him there had been "far too many inconsistencies in the rules".

"Everyone would be far more understanding and accepting of these decisions if there were fewer inconsistencies," he said.

"While we are all grateful that Queensland has stayed safe, the economic impacts have been serious and this continues to impact the daily lives of tens of thousands of Queenslanders."

 

Originally published as 'Not helpful': Hotels knock back Victorians until border opens



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