The Queensland Government and Air New Zealand are considering creating a travel bubble between New Zealand and the state’s top visitor destinations – Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Cairns and the Sunshine Coast.
It is believed that the talks to secure trans Tasman flights could deliver visitors from New Zealand to Queensland before international flights to New South Wales and Victoria resume.
Speaking to The Courier Mail, Member for Cairns Michael Healy, said Queensland’s low Covid-19 statistics put the state ahead of its tourism rivals.
“The New Zealand PM made it clear that they wouldn’t be opening borders in areas of high risk, and compared to New South Wales and Victoria, we’re streets ahead,” he said.
“I think it would be fantastic for our hotels, our restaurants and bars to get our Kiwi friends here.
“At the moment nothing has been confirmed, and I await the outcome of those discussions.”
New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said easing travel restrictions between the two nations should not be slowed down by the higher number of infections in NSW.
“The performance of Queensland, Northern Territory and, dare I say it, Tasmania, has been superior to New Zealand’s in many ways even though we’ve done surprisingly good,” he said.
“Let’s not restrain the movement between our two countries based on the slowest state in Australia.”
Tourism Minister Kate Jones said they were “working hard to ensure we fast-track Queensland’s economic recovery and flights are vital to the tourism industry”.