The Gold Coast has lost around $1 billion as a result of closed borders as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on businesses.
The latest figures from Destination Gold Coast found visitor expenditure was down $1 billion from the same period in 2019, pre-pandemic.
“We forecast to lose $326 million in September alone – down 68 per cent on pre-COVID numbers,” Destination Gold Coast CEO Patricia O’Callaghan said.
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The devastating numbers come as Australia moves towards the goal 70 to 80 per cent double vaccination rate.
However, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has cast doubt as to whether the sunshine state will open its borders to domestic travel when the target is hit.
O'Callaghan said the tourism industry must band together to make it through the current difficulties and expects the industry to come back with a bang.
“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,” O’Callaghan 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.”
When will borders open?
The nation is on track to open borders by Christmas, Australian Tourism Minister Dan Tehan said last week.
“I do empathize with the Australians who have been denied the opportunity to travel overseas this year,” he said.
“It’s another reason why everyone should get vaccinated and we have to stick to the national plan that will see our international border open up - at this rate by Christmas at the latest.”
And, when we do hit that vaccination target, many Aussies are already looking at booking travel plans.