SYDNEY — The Australian state of Queensland’s Deputy Premier Steven Miles is urging the state’s holidaymakers to support tourism industries following border closures to New South Wales local government areas.
In a massive blow for tourism operators, Queensland has now closed its borders to Greater Sydney and the surrounding regions of the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong, and Shellharbour in response to the growing outbreak.
Speaking on June 24, Miles says he expects mass cancellations from New South Wales tourists in the lead-up to the State of Origin to be played in Brisbane on June 27.
As school holidays loom he is calling on the public to support affected local tourism industries
“We’re urging Queenslanders to take up the opportunity that will come with some canceled bookings,” he said.
“We know on the Gold and Sunshine Coast 20 to 25 percent of bookings for the weekend and the early school holidays could well be canceled,” he said.
“The number of people from Sydney who had planned to travel for the State of Origin on June 27, means that our Central Business District hotels will be experiencing cancellations.
The New South Wales government released a map that showed the intensity of the Covid outbreak in the area.
Miles says they expect up to 40% of hotel rooms booked for the State of Origin to be vacant this weekend.
Weighing into the debate surrounding border closures, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on June 24 he sympathizes with Queensland’s tourism operators.
” I just feel for the Queensland tourism industry. I hope they can get these border bans out of the way as quickly as possible,” he said.
“These blanket bans, that’s just going to hurt tourism businesses in Queensland.
“But, you know, public health decisions have to be made based on the health advice. But let’s see if we can get things opened up as quickly as possible.”
Meanwhile, Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate has called on Queensland and New South Wales health authorities to establish a ‘Tweed Bubble’ if the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown continues.
Tate says people who live and work on both sides of the border should not be punished for “the Sydney Covid issues.”
As a region heavily reliant on tourism, he has also called on Gold Coast residents to buy, play and spend locally to support hard-hit industries. The Department of Health Services released a set of guidelines for the travelers traveling to Queensland and New South Wales, informing them about the hotspots and the areas they need to avoid inorder to stay safe.
(Edited by Vaibhav Pawar and Praveen Pramod Tewari)