Queensland opens up intrastate travel, but regions call for borders to reopen

Queenslander has relaxed its Covid-19 restrictions to allow Queenslanders to travel to most places in the state, helping the industry claw back hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue lost from the shutdown.

While Queenslanders can travel and stay in places overnight, Indigenous communities and tourism sites surrounding those communities remain in lockdown.

But as travel restrictions continue to ease, pressure is still mounting for the opening of all state borders.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Mark Olsen said the North Queensland economy was losing $91 million each week that domestic travel.

“The tourism economy in North Queensland is worth $6.4 billion annually, supports 37,400 direct jobs and accounts for 25 per cent of the State’s tourism economic impact despite having only 15 per cent of the population,” he said.

“In the Cairns region we are losing $10 million every day that domestic travel is not allowed.”

While tourism businesses are feeling the full effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the regions are among the most affected, according to Australian Regional Tourism (ART).

“For many businesses JobKeeper is holding everything together, but everyone is aware that this has an expiry date and many are unsure how they will manage when the subsidy ends,” ART Deputy Chair Donna Foster said.

“We are hearing over and over that operators desperately need support so they can safely reopen their businesses, they are unsure how social distancing will affect them and what special cleaning requirements will need to be implemented.”