Eye-watering cost of flights to hamper tourism

ONE of the Gold Coast's leading accommodation bosses has raised the spectre of massively expensive travel putting a further handbrake on domestic tourism.

Barry Robinson oversees Wyndham's vast timeshare operation outside of North America, including southeast Asia and Australia.

Wyndham's Gold Coast properties, which remain closed because of the pandemic, include Wyndham Hotel Surfers Paradise and Club Wyndham Kirra Beach. It has 600 employees in the city, many based at its Asia-Pacific HQ in Bundall.



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Mr Robinson said the administration of Virgin had placed the accommodation industry in a difficult position.

Wyndham boss Barry Robinson on the Gold Coast.
Wyndham boss Barry Robinson on the Gold Coast.

"The dilemma I raised the other day is even if the border is opened what is the cost of travel going to be?" he said.

"My CFO flew down to Melbourne the other day and it was $500 one way.

"So that equates to $1000 or $800 return. Realistically are you going to have families of four flying to the Gold Coast or Cairns and what are those frequency of flights going to be … and what is that pricing parameter going to be?"

Mr Robinson said the only way for industry to survive is if there is a flow of tourists coming in.




"The Government has to figure out how are you going to encourage or support the inflow of people into these location or regional places.

"That was expensive anyway when you had two airlines flying profitably.

"What is going to happen between now and Christmas?"

Mr Robinson said there was also the issue of no international tourists coming to the Gold Coast.

Barry Robinson raised concerns families won’t be able to afford to fly.
Barry Robinson raised concerns families won’t be able to afford to fly.

"The other dilemma is how comfortable are people with travelling and especially now Qantas has said no social distancing on planes and there is no need for it? So, there are a lot of unanswered questions.

"Whether it's Queensland or whatever, what support is the Government going to give to drive people in? That is not advertising money of nice Gold Coast beaches. That is reducing the cost to get people to the locations so they spend on restaurants and accommodation.

"If you can't get people flow through you can't get customers.

Mr Robinson said Wyndham would start to open its New Zealand properties on June 1 with the first Australian properties to open from July 15.

"The first ones in Australia will be some of our regional properties like Phillip Island.

"We will probably slowly open part of our Kirra Beach resort and our Surfers resort although it won't be full capacity."

Originally published as Eye-watering cost of flights to hamper tourism