Industry fears over potentially crippling lockdown

Nervous tourism leaders are pleading with Premier Annastacia Palasczuk not to react to the latest COVID-19 crisis with another crippling lockdown or border closure ahead of Easter.

Fears the tourism industry could suffer another devastating blow, just days after the Federal Government's half-price airfare deal was announced, have emerged in the wake of the PA Hospital virus case.

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath would not rule tougher action yesterday after the State Government announced a lockdown of all hospitals, aged care facilities and prisons in Greater Brisbane.

"At this stage we are proposing nothing more than we have announced today," she said.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is being urged to avoid another lockdown. Picture: Richard Walker
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is being urged to avoid another lockdown. Picture: Richard Walker

Gold Mayor Tom Tate doubled down on his calls for the Palaszczuk Government to not be 'trigger-happy' on lockdowns and border closures.

Speaking this week after the Federal Government announced 800,000 half-price airfares as part of a $1.2 billion tourism stimulus package, Cr Tate said the border needed to be kept open to give travellers the confidence to book a Queensland holiday.

Yesterday, he urged the Palaszczuk Government to not put Brisbane into a 'hard lockdown'.

"The arrival of the vaccine has given all communities a huge advantage. The hard lock down days are hopefully behind us so I hope a cautionary approach can be taken," he said.

"Stop-start lockdowns seriously impact business, and traveller, confidence."

The last Brisbane lockdown, in January at the peak of the school holidays, hammered struggling Gold Coast tourism operators who rely heavily on the southeast Queensland 'drive market' for visitors.

The state border has also been slammed shut multiple times during the pandemic, robbing Queensland tourism operators of domestic visitors after the loss of millions of international tourists.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Daniel Gschwind said it was 'an enormous relief' the State government had so far resisted the urge to install another lockdown which would be a further cut to the heart of the sector.

"Travellers need to have confidence that they can book a holiday and not have everything thrown into chaos again," he said.

"We need a clear run, particularly for the tourism industry, and particularly in the lead-up to Easter, which is such an important time for the operators.

"It was an enormous relief to hear the advice and that we weren't going into lockdown because we can't keep coming through that."

Destination Gold Coast CEO Patricia O'Callaghan said the Glitter Strip had been looking forward to a strong Easter.

"We are putting our full confidence behind the Queensland public health system and their contact tracing methods in managing this," she said.

"All we can go of is the information we know now and that is we are open for business and we are looking forward to a solid Easter, which is important for us."

Originally published as Industry fears over potentially crippling lockdown



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