Tour operators braced for $1 billion windfall
ALMOST half of Queenslanders are planning a winter escape within the state as tourism operators brace for an estimated $1 billion windfall over the school holidays.
The tourism industry, devastated by the impact of the coronavirus on travel, is poised to cash in on a rare case of stars aligning, with the reopening of theme parks, the looming holiday period and easing of restrictions all set to deliver a massive spending spree by Queenslanders ready to satisfy their pent-up wanderlust.
Providing extra assurance for would-be travellers apprehensive over the pandemic, Queensland has also been revealed as the state with the highest number of tourism operators compliant with new COVID-Clean protocols.
In news that can not come quick enough for an industry which has already lost an estimated $8 billion over the past four months, new data from Tourism and Events Queensland reveals that 42 per cent of Queenslanders are planning a Sunshine State holiday in the coming
Significantly, the figure is a 12 per cent increase on the same time period last year, which could offset at least part of the damage done since the industry ground to a virtual standstill in March.
According to the TEQ sentiment survey, an even higher proportion of regional Queenslanders (46 per cent) are planning an intrastate holiday over the winter period, with the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Southern Queensland Country and the state's far north the top five destinations.
It comes after the launch of several tourism campaigns in Queensland, including the 'Good to Go' push backed by music stars Busby Marou.
Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the research was extremely encouraging for industry operators who have born the brunt of the COVID-19 shutdown.
"How good is Queensland and how good are Queenslanders?" she said.
"We told them we're 'Good to Go' and they've answered the call.
"The best way to get through tough times is to pull together.
"I'm so proud that Queenslanders are supporting our industry when we need it the most."
TEQ CEO Leanne Coddington said the data showed people still had a desire to experience a Queensland holiday.
"What this research shows is that there is a built-up demand from Queenslanders who are keen to get out there and make the most of our beautiful state," she said.
"Our 'Good To Go' campaign was designed to inspire Queenslanders to become tourists in our own backyard, with a view to not only the June-July school holidays but the September school holidays as well.
"Anecdotally we are hearing reports of good booking numbers in regions across the state which is great news for operators who have had an extremely difficult past six months."
In further news to reassure wary travellers, figures from the Australian Tourism Industry Council show Queensland tourism operators are miles ahead of other states in having COVID-safe plans adopted and approved.
Already, 111 Queensland tourism businesses have had COVID plans endorsed, almost double the number of the next closest state (WA with 62).
On the Gold Coast, theme parks Sea World, Paradise Country and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary will today open for business for the first time since mid-March, while other attractions across the state have also been gearing up for the holidays.
Originally published as Tour operators braced for $1 billion windfall