YOUR SAY: Stronger for Generations
THE tourism sector is very much in the headlines this week following continued interest from media seeking confirmation as to exactly when state border restrictions will be relaxed or removed.
Opening borders will have immediate impacts to business performance, beyond just the tourism sector.
Think the sporting industry with the NRL and AFL, the professional services sector who often rely on physically visiting clients, the METS sector who traverse Australia’s mining regions. The list goes on and on.
If we were to focus on tourism, it is important to value the sector in a regional context.
Pre COVID-19, almost 10 per cent of all jobs across the Mackay Isaac Whitsunday regions came from tourism and the sector contributed more than $1.6B to the economy.
This is no small change and as most of regional Queensland has experienced very few COVID-19 cases, and with international travel off the cards for the foreseeable future, now is the time to encourage domestic travel to our regional tourism hot spots.
Our tourism operators need the Queensland Government to provide a firm date on borders reopening (within safety guidelines) to not only provide a glimmer of hope for the viability of their sector but also to allow them adequate time to plan and redesign their new COVID-19 safe offering.
These businesses are hibernating and trying to not spend any money until they have certainty.
Premier Palaszczuk now is the time to provide them with that certainty.
And when the Queensland Government gives us that certainty, I would urge the MIW community in the first instance, to get out there and visit the places you have been talking about.
The current situation is also compelling us to assess and identify projects that are vital for our region and to ensure, that when the time comes (and it will), our region’s tourism sector is better equipped.
Our three regional councils; Mackay Tourism and Whitsunday Tourism along with organisations like GW3 are working hard to ensure that government has all the information it needs to invest in tourism projects in our region and ensure our tourism sector is stronger beyond COVID-19.
Quite obviously, tourism is one of the most impacted sectors as a result of the global pandemic and our region’s tourism operators are among our region’s hardest-hit businesses.
Now more than ever, we are at a crossroad and we have the chance to create a new chapter of MIW tourism and think outside the box.