Keeping Queensland’s borders shut until it reaches a 90 per cent vaccination rate will only extend the pain for the downtrodden holiday sector, the state’s peak tourism body says.
International and state border closures over the past 18 months have dried up the regular flow of visitors that support Queensland’s $10 billion tourism industry and Queensland Tourism Industry Council boss Daniel Gschwind says there is no need for an extra hurdle to be added.
“Look, we don‘t need another setback, that is for certain,” Mr Gschwind said on Tuesday morning.
Camera IconAnna Coyne from Brisbane exploring the Tangalooma Wrecks on Moreton Island. Credit: News Corp Australia, Lachie Millard
“We have done a tough across Australia. In Queensland, we had the benefit of being able to move about most of the time across the state, and Queenslanders have been enjoying the great weather and some destinations… but ultimately, we have to open up.
“Many operators are hanging on by their fingernails.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has already rejected reports her government is eyeing a reopening target higher than the 80 per cent full vaccination figure agreed to by the national cabinet, saying it was too early to speculate.
A spokesman for the Premier on Monday denied an enhanced 90 per cent threshold had been endorsed, even though chief health officer Jeanette Young expressed publicly she would like to see that figure achieved.
Camera IconPremier Annastacia Palaszczuk has already denied reports her government is eyeing a reopening target higher than the 80 per cent full vaccination figure agreed to by the national cabinet. NCA NewsWire / John Gass Credit: News Corp Australia
Ms Palaszczuk has also noted that the Doherty Institute was reviewing its road map and the target could be higher.
Mr Gschwind on Tuesday morning said there was no doubt that a 90 per cent full vaccination rate was ideal, but not a realistic target for reopening.
“We all hope… it will be 90 per cent but I think the expectation of that happening is low and not many countries if any have reached it around the world,” he said.
Camera IconMore than 60 per cent of Queenslanders had received their first vaccination dose following the weekend’s Super-Pfizer push, while just over 41 per cent are now fully vaxxed. NCA NewsWire / John Gass Credit: News Corp Australia
Cairns Adventure Group director Roderic Rees said his business was currently holding on as best it could, given no reopening date had been set.
“It‘s so shocking. We need a road map. We need a date,” he said
“If we get into mid-December and people in Victoria and NSW start travelling overseas, and they can’t come into Queensland, that is an unacceptable result for the tourism industry. We just – we can’t survive if that happens and we need to ensure that doesn’t happen.”
More than 60 per cent of Queenslanders have received their first vaccination dose following the weekend’s Super-Pfizer push, while just over 41 per cent are fully vaxxed.
The state is reportedly on track to reach 70 per cent full vaccination of over 16s by mid-November, and 80 per cent by early December.Internet Explorer Channel Network