Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has a joined a chorus of leaders in the tourism sector calling for a national strategy on the reopening of state borders.
Speaking last week at on the Gold Coast at Griffith University’s inaugural A Better Future for All conversation series held at HOTA, Joyce said there was enough pent up demand for domestic travel to fill the gap left by a lack of overseas visitor in the short term.
“We had roughly eight million overseas visitors coming into Australia each year,” he said.
“We had 11 million Aussies going overseas. In theory those Aussies, if you can get them to do domestic tourism for a period of time, will fill that gap. And we need to get them to go to places like the Gold Coast that a lot of international tourists were coming to.”
While Joyce conceded that that “health has to be the top priority” he said certainty was needed over borders.
“What we’d like to see, what everyone in the tourism industry would like to see, is real certainty over what’s going to happen with borders,” he said.
“There’s different approaches being taken by different states. In other industries, certainty has been given about what happens, what needs to be seen for gyms to open, cafes to open, events to actually have more people.
“… We all agree that health has to be the top priority. But we always said, and I think it’s the National Cabinet’s view, that we’re not after elimination, we’re after suppression. And if we’re after suppression, we’re going to have the outbreaks that we’ve had in New South Wales.
“But they are managing it. The numbers were still less than 20 with 30,000 tests taking place, so there are questions about, what are the criteria for closing a border down and what’s the criteria again for opening it up if we’re going after suppression, which is the strategy.”