Skilled warns over future closures
Experts urge Australians to remain cautious about booking interstate travel after it was announced that Queensland will reopen its border with all of NSW starting Monday.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk unexpectedly dropped the news this morning on Nine’s Today show, which NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian first heard about during an interview with 2GB radio host Ben Fordham.
Ms. Palaszczuk said Queensland will reopen to all of NSW from February 1, after the state closed borders to residents of the greater Sydney area a few days before Christmas.
“It’s been a very, very long distance and it’s been tough for everyone, but I’ve always said I have to get the Queenslanders to safety,” she said.
“I can inform you that the NSW border will reopen on February 1st. So it’s a great time for families to get back together, but also for people to plan their vacation. “
The border restrictions will be relaxed from Monday for 35 NSW LGAs, provided the state’s COVID-19 situation does not change significantly.
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However, Graham ‘Skroo’ Turner, CEO of the Flight Center, said he anticipates Australians will be careful about packing their bags and booking a flight to the Sunshine State as the borders are slamming quickly.
“This is welcome news, certainly for travel and tourism,” Turner told Sky News host Peter Stefanovic.
“Sydney is vital to Queensland and other states. So it’s good news … but let’s hope they stay open because that’s our main concern, that they keep opening and closing … as the mood takes us. Every state has a different policy. “
Mr Turner said the premier premier closure of the borders a few days before Christmas will have an impact on how quickly NSW residents book ahead of the February 1 reopening.
“We found out that December bookings went crazy when the states opened before Christmas,” he said.
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“But people are a little more careful now because they have been hit by border closings. So i don’t think so [bookings] will be the same. “
Ms. Palaszczuk’s announcement comes after NSW recorded day 10 without locally acquired coronavirus infections on Wednesday. The Prime Minister is hoping that NSW residents will book a trip north to Queensland and book a trip to “explore the far north”.
“We want to show the rest of Australia what you can experience up here,” she said on Thursday.
“I know families have been hit hard, especially with the closure of the greater Sydney area. Now is the time for families and friends to be reunited. “
Dr. David Beirman, lecturer in tourism at Sydney University of Technology, said that while the decision to reopen is welcome, it is no surprise that Australian travelers will remain cautious.
“Unfortunately, the opening for people from the greater Sydney area is too late to benefit from the NSW school’s Christmas holiday market,” he said, given the students’ return this week.
“The open and closed nature of the Queensland / NSW and other states border has been a disaster for the Queensland tourism industry. The spinning border gate policy of the Queensland government and Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk has created so much uncertainty among both tourists and the tourism industry that many people in NSW and Victoria are now thinking twice about planning a trip to Queensland. “
Queensland slammed its borders with Greater Sydney, Wollongong, the Blue Mountains and the Central Coast on December 21 following a COVID-19 outbreak on its northern beaches.
Mr Turner said he was concerned the borders might be closed again and urged prime ministers to have confidence in their peers in order to deal with local hotspot outbreaks.
“We have to encourage the prime ministers to keep the borders open and allow every state to control the hotspot [outbreaks] what will happen next.
“States do their own thing … every state has a different policy. They should trust each other to deal with hot spots … and we should be able to trust without closing borders. This has a particularly negative impact on tourism. “