Palaszczuk calls for federal help as coronavirus cost to Gold Coast tourism blows out to $400m

The effect of the coronavirus on the Gold Coast’s tourism sector is worse than previously thought following news of four confirmed cases in the region.

The four Chinese nationals are part of a tour group of nine, who all remain in isolation at the Gold Coast University.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has addressed state parliament about the worsening situation and called on the federal government to help.

“On the Gold Coast, losses to tourism operators are estimated between $100 million and $400 million,” she said.

“The top ten operators reported a 15-20 percent drop in trade, this affects 3,500 business and 42,000 jobs.”

Air travel out of the state has also been hit, with 100,000 seats lost on flights out of Brisbane alone.

“Internationally, passenger numbers are down 60,000,” Palaszczuk said. “These are impacts not seen since the pilot strike.”

Palaszczuk also said other tourism hotspots are suffering, with the Cairns region losing $200 million in forward bookings.

“Mr Speaker, how well we weather this crisis, depends on how quickly and how well we respond, and I once again call on the Prime Minister to treat the coronavirus the same way he would treat any other natural disaster,” she said.