Gold Coast tourism boss says restrictions ‘death by a thousand cuts’

Destination Gold Coast CEO Annaliese Battista has described the series of escalating restrictions from Prime Minister Scott Morrison as “death by a thousand cuts” for the tourist reliant city.

Battista has called on the PM to “shut the place down”, saying the latest round of restrictions, which have shut down restaurants, pubs, casinos alongside other non-essential businesses, don’t go far enough.

“The tourism sector is advocating to shut the place down, provide the short-term cash initiatives for businesses to stop going broke and provide certainty for businesses which have closed,” she told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

“It’s been eight weeks since the tourism sector was first impacted by China’s travel ban. Since then it’s been death by a 1000 cuts.

“We have been privately hoping for a lockdown for a while but publicly advocating for one since Sunday.”

Destination Gold Coast chairman Paul Donovan said he supported Battista but called for a united front during the coronavirus crisis.

“Annaliese is doing a great job and I support her but I believe we need a united front right now,” he told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

“It’s about team Gold Coast and everyone is on it, from the Prime Minister to Premier and Mayor as well as everyone in the tourism industry.”

Battista has also lobbied for critical cash injections to be fast-tracked to businesses in need.

“We know that at a minimum, Covid-19 has already cost Gold Coast tourism sector between $600 million and a billion dollars, and this figure is going to increase by at least 310 million every month,” she said.

“Tourism is the bedrock of the Gold Coast economy, every single member of the Gold Coast community relies on the sector in some way.

“Mums and dads and businesses of every size are finding it incredibly different to survive the Covid-19 crisis, and urgently need cash and support from all tiers of government to survive.

“Gold Coast businesses are crying out for assistance to stay afloat, they need immediate local, state and federal government support in the form of cash boosts to survive now and to revive when the threat of coronavirus is neutralised.”