Queensland’s Deputy Premier Steven Miles is urging the state’s holiday makers to support tourism industries following border closures to NSW 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 Thursday, Mr Miles says he expects mass cancellations from NSW tourists in the lead up to State of Origin to be played in Brisbane on Sunday.
As school holidays loom he is calling on the the public to support affected local tourism industries
“We’re urging Queenslanders to take up the opportunity that will come with some cancelled bookings,” he said.
“We know on the Gold and Sunshine Coast 20 to 25 per cent of bookings for the weekend and the early school holidays could well be cancelled,” he said.
“The number of people from Sydney who had planned to travel for the State of Origin on Sunday, means that our CBD hotels will be experiencing cancellations.
Mr Miles says they expect up to 40% of hotel rooms booked for State of Origin to be vacant this weekend.
Weighing into the debate surrounding border closures, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told 4BC on Thursday he sympathises 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 NSW health authorities to establish a ‘Tweed Bubble’ if the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown continues.
Mr 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.