The Cairns & Great Barrier Reef tourism industry has 125 million reasons to be happy with the confirmation that visitors from Greater Sydney and Victoria will be able to travel from 1 December.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Mark Olsen said TTNQ was pleased to have confirmation that travellers from Victoria and the 34 communities of Greater Sydney would be able to start enjoying Summer in the Tropics in just one week.
“Visitors from Victoria and New South Wales inject $50 million a month into our region and the announcements, a full week in advance of the easing of the restrictions, mean travellers can book with confidence,” he said.
“Our destination has the opportunity for a $125 million boost to visitor spend for the summer holidays which will support hundreds of jobs in our community at a time when it is needed most.
“The first interstate flights in July were full of smiling holidaymakers arriving in paradise, with as many as 3500 visitors a week arriving from Sydney.
“We receive more than 225,000 visitors each year from Sydney, spending nearly $300 million per annum with most of that coming during winter.
“With summer officially starting the day the borders open, we will travel to Sydney in person next week to invite Greater Sydney back to Cairns & Great Barrier Reef.
“Now we just need confirmation that the reef operators and other tour operators can get back to 75 per cent COVID-safe carrying capacity to allow them to start their recovery.
“It is vital the State Government provide an extension to the Business Support programs including waiving operator fees and charges and continuing the rent relief as we try to give operators some chance of surviving what will be a bumpy ride in 2021.
“It is important to realise that the region is still missing more than $4 million a day in international visitor spend and most operators missed out on the normally strong domestic winter with hundreds of millions in lost revenue for the destination.”