World Tourism Day woes as Gold Coast sees $1bn hole in visitor spending

It’s World Tourism Day today but there is not a lot of celebrating going on, with the Gold Coast looking at a $1 billion drop in visitor spending over the September quarter compared to the same period in 2019.

Destination Gold Coast Chairman Paul Donovan said while there was not much to celebrate it was still important for the sector to come together.

“We would normally celebrate to mark World Tourism Day, but this year looks very different,” Donovan said.

“What’s most important is ensuring our local operators are ok.”

The latest Destination Gold Coast research estimates visitor expenditure to lose $326 million in September alone, down 68 per cent on pre-COVID numbers.

“This year, World Tourism Day is all about coming together in tourism,” said Destination Gold Coast CEO Patricia O’Callaghan.

“Though our norm has been well and truly shaken up, we stand shoulder-to-shoulder at every turn.

“We are a community of interconnected industries, employing one in six Gold Coasters.

“Fresh air, light exercise and connecting with industry peers has never been more critical. Destination Gold Coast is hosting a morning walk along the beautiful Surfers Paradise foreshore with our industry for an important check in with one another to ensure they’re ok.”

But O’Callaghan was optimistic that there was light at the end of the tunnel.

“Our industry has been facing some of its darkest days having persevered through more than 18 months of hardship, but if we get through the next 100 days we can rebound exceptionally strongly,” she said.

“The industry has been hurting. We’ve seen support flow in from Federal and State Governments recently that’s going to go a long way, however COVID has left a hole in the pockets of our tourism operators and any additional support is always welcome from both sides of government.”