An announcement this week on a July reopening of the Queensland border would put the Gold Coast in the best position for economic recovery, says leading advocacy group YP Gold Coast.
For weeks the city’s tourism operators and small businesses have been calling for the border to be reopened, in line with Federal Government health advice and positive health outcomes being reported across the country.
The Gold Coast Bulletin published an article this week, highlighting the city will lose more than $1.2 billion in interstate tourism revenue in the next three months unless the border is opened, according to National Visitor Survey data from Tourism Research Australia. The data showed the busiest air routes across the country in July 2019 included Sydney to Gold Coast and Melbourne to Gold Coast.
Further to this, data from travel booking sites including Expedia shows the Gold Coast is the most frequently searched destination in the country for domestic holidays.
Unfortunately, intrastate travel is not enough to support our tourism economy and the many small, medium and large tourism businesses who contribute more than $5 billion a year to our city’s bottom line. While some regions around the state have benefited from an increase in airline services from later this month, at the time of writing Gold Coast Airport continues to service only three flights per week – all to Sydney.
The Gold Coast Bulletin published news on Thursday that Virgin Australia has loaded additional eight flights in a day into the Gold Coast from mid-July. It shows airlines are keen to resume flights to the Gold Coast, but until there is certainty around the border, this scheduling won’t necessarily translate to more visitors to our city.
So as the Queensland Government ponders its most significant move in the state’s economic recovery, time is of the essence.
An announcement this week of a July 1 reopening would allow tourism businesses to put in place COVIDsafe plans and stand up staff, give airlines time to market and sell seats, and importantly, give people time to plan their Gold Coast holidays.
Waiting until the end of the month – or longer – will only further delay the pain for a city that is trying to get back on its feet.
Disclaimer: This opinion piece represents the personal views of YP Gold Coast committee members, and is in no way intended to reflect the views of committee members’ employers or YP Gold Coast sponsors.