Tourism bodies expect influx from border announcement
TOURISM bodies in the Gladstone region have welcomed the announcement by the Queensland Government to reopen the state’s borders to more than 10 million people from Sydney and Melbourne.
This week Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced, provided there were no COVID outbreaks in NSW or Victoria before December 1, the state would welcome all visitors from those areas.
Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Limited GAPDL chief executive Gus Stedman said the region was excited to welcome visitors from Sydney, Victoria and the rest of Australia.
Mr Stedman said the GAPDL supported medical advice from Queensland’s chief health officer Dr Jeanette Young to leave the border closed until December.
“The GAPDL welcomes the announcement of the borders reopening as of December 1st,” Mr Stedman said.
“Based on the medical advice GAPDL support the government’s decision to keep the borders closed.
“The GAPDL and its members are looking forward to welcoming visitors from all over Australia.”
The impact of the announcement is still permeating through the local tourism sector.
“It is too early to say if the border reopening has impacted future bookings, however, we expect to see more interstate visitors in 2021 and we look forward to showing them all we have to offer in the Gladstone region,” Mr Stedman said.
Mr Stedman said the GAPDL was working on its plans for 2021, based on the latest advice from the government.
“We will be holding the city plaza twilight markets on the 11th and 18th of December to support our city heart and market stall holders,” he said.
Discovery Coast Tourism and Commerce DCTC President Amber Rodgers said the Agnes Water/1770 region was looking forward to welcoming tourists.
“It’s very pleasing to reach a stage where restrictions are reduced and people can travel more freely,” she said.
“The visiting friends and relatives market is significant at this time of year, so there will be added joy now that the reuniting is less restricted in December, and hopefully beyond.
“The accommodation in the Agnes Water and 1770 area traditionally experiences peak trade during the Christmas and New year period each year, and the 2020-21 season will be no exception.
“All the local businesses recommend that guests contact them in advance to make reservations.
“Business owners in Agnes Water and 1770 value the visitors to our destination, it provides a way of life, so they don’t wish to be caught short due to being full or not catering for enough guests.”
Ms Rodgers said the Discovery Coast region wasn’t significantly impacted by the border closure due to visiting Queenslanders.
“Thankfully, operators in the Discovery Coast region have not suffered significant economic hardship during the border closure period.
“Many Queenslanders did frequent the area throughout from June to October, some businesses even experienced their own record months during this time.
“About half of the visitors in the early months of reopening stated it was their first-ever time to the area and that they had always meant to travel here since hearing about it.
“We have been privileged to host many, many Queenslanders who may have otherwise travelled further away from home for their leisure holidays in 2020.
“Overall the members of DCTC were not desperately waiting for the borders to open from an economic perspective.
“Having said that, there are a great many suppliers who have been affected by the border decisions, and this in turn has created difficulty for some local businesses.”
Discovery Coast businesses are already seeing an influx of bookings.
“Booking enquiries have increased as a result of this week’s announcements,” Ms Rodgers said.
“Some of the enquiries are for well into next year, so that provides confidence for business owners locally.”