CQ bookings close to capacity for school holidays
TOURISM operators in the Gladstone region are reporting bookings approaching capacity for the school holidays, but the border closure and lack of interstate tourists is being felt.
Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Limited tourism manager Nicola Scurr said Gladstone and Heron Island had seen a great increase in bookings, with a lot of operators nearing capacity for the June/July holidays.
Ms Scurr said COVID-19 had a huge impact on the region's tourism.
"COVID-19 had a great impact especially at a time where we are usually very busy over Easter and leading into the cooler months," Ms Scurr said.
"Overall the impact to tourism in the region is in excess of millions."
Ms Scurr said Queensland relies on interstate travel to keep the market viable and the travel ban has been detrimental to the industry.
"I understand the safety of Queenslander's needs to come first and respect that the decision is made at a higher level, however now that the curve has flattened we would love to see the borders reopen," she said.
"Interstate tourists are very important to the Gladstone region, especially during winter where those who live down south are travelling north."
Sandcastles 1770 Motel & Resort manager Mark Hulst said it was a welcome relief to see visitors again after his business saw a 95 per cent-99 per cent reduction during the pandemic.
He said he was fortunate his staff could receive JobKeeper payments.
Mr Hulst said Queensland's borders should remain closed until the pandemic is under control.
"We don't want to risk going back like Victoria has this week going back to restrictions, I'd rather have it steady and make sure we are safe," he said.
Discovery Coast Tourism and Commerce president Amber Rodgers said a lot of Agnes Water and 1770 accommodation had recorded a much higher occupancy since Queensland's travel ban lifted on June 1.
Mrs Rodgers said tourism is going in a very positive direction with the desire for travellers to return to the region.
"Despite it being early days we are seeing a lot of Queenslanders coming to this destination," she said.
"We definitely have visitors that have come from further a field … coming from southeast Queensland and are staying for more than one night."