‘Livelihoods at stake’ Port Douglas tourism operators call for early border opening

While Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk digs in over the state’s border closure, tourism operators in Port Douglas have called for a July opening saying any further delays would be “devastating”.

Sailaway Port Douglas owner Steve Edmondson said July and August were key months for the tourism sector in far North Queensland, warning any further delays would be “totally devastating for tourism and our region”.

“The Premier’s comments saying that tourism is robust and it will survive are incredibly disappointing and I completely disagree,” he told Newsport Daily. “It is sustainable, but it is fragile, there are a lot of livelihoods at stake here.”

Edmondson said the state should aim for a July reopening as it was part of the national plan.

“I appreciate concern and alarm, but we do have a situation where we have such low case numbers in all of the states,” he said. “We should have Australians supporting Australians and not have a rivalry between the states.”

Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree CEO Tara Bennett is pushing for borders to reopen by July.

Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree (TPDD) CEO Tara Bennett has also called for a review of the timeline, saying waiting until September would be “devastating for every single tourism business in the Douglas Shire”.

“To miss out on critical revenue from July to September will be the end for many businesses,” she told Newsport Daily.

“The seasonality of the tourism sector means we rely heavily on visitation from June to October to bolster bank balances for year-round operation.”

Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch has also urged the Premier to reconsider, saying keeping borders closed until September would be “ridiculous”.

“The reality is that in areas like Port Douglas, most of the income generated comes between June and September,” he told Newsport Daily.

“There are a lot of very good viable businesses that are not going to survive another full season without business.”