‘Hanging on by a thread’ as Gold Coast tourism jobs tumble

One in five tourism jobs on the Gold Coast have been lost in the last 12 months, according new research commissioned by the Tourism and Transport Forum.

Destination Gold Coast Chairman Paul Donovan said the 4,600 tourism businesses “are hanging on by a thread”.

“Our local tourism industry relies on people travelling to enjoy what the region has to offer and with more than half of Australia’s population under travel restrictions, the impact on the Gold Coast is significant,” he said.

Destination Gold Coast CEO Patricia O’Callaghan said the “figures are heartbreaking”.

“We know the industry will bounce back once people are able to travel again, but until that happens, the industry is requesting targeted financial support from the Government,” she said.

“We appreciate the Government’s support to date and the announced $600 million Business Support Package recently.

“Measures around business hardship grants and financial mechanisms that allow employers to retain skilled staff and keep them connected to the business until economic conditions improve will be critical.”

Following 18-months of hardship, tourism employment on the Gold Coast is forecast to drop by another 4,000 full-time and part-time jobs from now until Christmas, with the current travel restrictions.

“As this crisis continues to unfold, the lifeline for our industry will be Government support,” said O’Callaghan.

Kate Forrester, who runs family-owned operator Gold Coast Watersports, said they needed urgent support to stay afloat.

“We are currently running at 10 per cent, so the loss to our bottom line is enormous which has led to reducing staff hours just so we can retain our skilled jet ski tour guides, parasail and jet boat captains,” Forrester said.

“As a business owner, we are clinging on to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but at the end of the day we need urgent support to keep afloat.”