Tourism leaders call for NQ travel bubble from June
UNRESTRICTED travel in the Mackay, Whitsundays, Cairns, Townsville and Outback regions could be a reality by June 12.
Tourism leaders across the state are calling for a travel bubble in line with the beginning of Stage 2 COVID-19 restrictions, in an attempt to save our struggling tourism industry.
Mackay, Whitsundays, Cairns and Townsville currently have zero active cases of coronavirus.
The Mackay region was declared virus free on May 2 after just 15 cases and Townsville was cleared on May 6 after 24 cases.
The last new case in Cairns was recorded on April 9 after reaching 35.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland, Townsille Enterprise, Mackay Tourism, Tourism Whitsundays and Outback Queensland Tourism Association have joined forces to urge the State Government to lift the 250km restriction on recreational travel within North Queensland.
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Mackay Tourism chief executive officer Tas Webber said the blueprint for the plan was ready
to be activated.
"We're calling for what has already been earmarked for the outback region in Stage 2,
where travel within the region for recreational purposes is allowed and is applied to the wider
North Queensland region from Mackay north to Cairns and west to the Northern Territory
border," he said.
The travel bubble suggested would not include the lockdown arrangements for indigenous communities and would begin from the Marlborough Stretch north.
Tourism Whitsundays CEO Tash Wheeler said a one size fits all approach did not work because North Queensland was so reliant on tourism.
"We do not have the population base of the south east to support tourism businesses," she said.
"That is why we need an extension on the 250km zone and the upcoming school holidays would be the perfect opportunity for tourism operators to get back to normality.
"This is what we need to re-energise North Queensland."
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington has thrown her support behind the tourism bubble campaign, saying the blanket restrictions across the state were killing jobs.
'The Premier needs to back down before she delivers a devastating blow to our tourism industry," she said.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has maintained a stern stance on interstate travel restrictions, saying restrictions were likely to be in place until at least September.
On April 22, Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said regions like Townsville would need to wait 28 days before restrictions could be safely lifted.
"The incubation period for this virus is actually 14 days and you probably need to allow for two incubation periods before you can safely say that you're not going to get more cases," she
"That's the case for the whole country that we really need to look at two incubation periods before we can safely remove any of the restrictions."
A month passed yesterday and tourism leaders are hoping for a change of heart for the north.