Far North Tourism Hit Hardest Amid Border Closures
‘Industry on its knees’
Far North tourism operators continue to be left high and dry as uncertainty over state border restrictions are crippling the industry.
Businesses owners are frustrated over the lack of transparency from the Palaszczuk government as to whether borders will open in time for Christmas.
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President of the Cairns Tourism Industry Association, Kevin Byrne, said from tourism businesses, and tour operators, to hotels and hospitality venues, closures are now the new norm.
"The industry here really is on its knees," Mr Byrne said.
"There are many people going out of business every week and so it's a pretty depressing situation here. We need the Queensland government to change tack," he said.
"The state government's policy has been virus elimination, not virus suppression, and frankly the industry here lacks confidence and is existing day-to-day."
- Kevin Byrne
Little consolation to the sector, Gus Mandigora, Senior Policy Advisor to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland [CCIQ], said operators planing and preparing for the inevitable reopening may simply come too late for the Far North.
"When you don't have Queensland's specific certainty, regions like Cairns that rely a lot on tourism, and that rely a lot on visitors from the southern states, they cannot plan and they suffer beyond the current suffering that they are going through, due to a lack of visitors"
"Talk to us and come up with a plan for what we need to reopen Queensland," he has asked of the Premier, "If we know what we are aiming for, and if we know a tentative date for it, that would be enormously helpful for Queensland businesses that have been doing it tough over the last eighteen months".
The pandemic has cost Australia's tourism trade in immeasurable ways, with data revealing a drop in spending of $33 billion, up till March 2021.
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