The Queensland Government has announced a $27 million rescue package for tourism operators who are buckling under the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
“Our tourism, fishing and international education industries are hurting,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
“In terms of the economic impact, the novel coronavirus is a disaster like any cyclone, fire or flood.”
The government will also launch a $7 million international marketing campaign aimed at Japan, the US and New Zealand.
The state could lose more than a $1 billion over the coming months following the steep drop off in tourism numbers.
“Early estimates of the accumulated cancellation losses in Queensland alone amount to more than $100 million to date, with some estimates of losses over the coming months exceeding the $1 billion mark,” Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind warned earlier this month.
“This figure is not just an economic indicator, instead it reflects the damage done to thousands of business operators who find themselves in severe financial stress, entirely outside their control.”
But not everyone is happy, with Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner saying it offered little tourism support for his city. He has already called on further funding for Brisbane Marketing, akin to funding issued to the Gold Coast and Cairns.
Destination Gold Coast chief executive Annaliese Battista has also called for $10 million from the government, describing the $2.4 million offered last week as “disappointing”.
“It’s bigger than SARS, it’s bigger than the Global Financial Crisis,” Battista said.
“Our 3500 tourism businesses are hurting and they need support now.”
But Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the $27 miliion package will help the Gold Coast.
“The money is for Tourism and Events Queensland to work with tourism operators [Destination Gold Coast] to get that money out the door,” she said.
“We want to pull together packages with Gold Coast hotels, Gold Coast attractions, and get international visitors from other key markets outside of China.”