$15b economic boom the perfect Xmas gift for Qld
Queensland is on track for a $15 billion economic revival, with some parts of the state experiencing a five-fold increase in travel inquiries while shoppers and diners are spending millions in shops and restaurants.
Eased restrictions combined with Christmas has seen tourism interest for the Sunshine State skyrocket with travel interest in parts of the state was 550 per cent higher than last year.
Hotels that were previously operating at 10-15 per cent capacity are being flooded with bookings, with Queensland Hotels Association reporting most of its members were now operating at 80-to-100 per cent full.
Queensland's retail sales have also surged, paving the way for a $10.6-billion dollar spend this festive season - an increase of $600-million from last year - according the National Retailers Association
"Christmas is a critical time of year for retailers, even more so this year given we are coming out of a recession," NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said.
"Black Friday was a runaway success and retail remains on track for more than $10 billion to be spent across Queensland this festive season."
It adds to the forecast of a $4-billion summer tourism season - after Queensland opened its borders to all states and territories on Sunday - to bring the promise of a $15-billion tourism revival that experts say couldn't have come at a better time.
"The Christmas period is often where most hospitality businesses bank on (for) supporting them through the next quarter," QHA CEO Bernie Hogan said.
Gambaro Group director John Gambaro said his restaurants and hotels had seen a surge in bookings and patronage this December.
"It's definitely what we all needed … the staff are happy, everyone's getting hours and we're seeing people we haven't seen for a while."
The opening of borders has seen tourism interest skyrocket, with the Gold Coast accommodation demand increasing by 550 per cent from this time last year 2019 according to Wotif data,
The booking agency also reported huge interest in Agnes Waters - 590 per cent more than last year - and the Whitsunday's - 505 per cent more than last year.
"Since the opening of the Queensland border to Greater Sydney and Victoria, the appetite for cross border travel into Queensland remains extremely strong, particularly with NSW and VIC travellers looking to get away over the peak summer holiday period," Wotif Managing Director, Daniel Finch said.
The Star Grand Gold Coast saw the number of new bookings nearly double in the 24 hours after it was announced that the borders would reopen, while hotel occupancy at Treasury Brisbane has climbed to more than 85 per cent.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland predicts the return of Sydney and Melbourne flights will inject more than $50-million each month into the Cairns economy, where retailers have been "bleeding" cash.
"Just four days after the Queensland borders opened to Victoria and Greater Sydney the Cairns airport experienced its busiest day since March with 6000 passengers passing through the terminal," CEO Mark Olsen said.
"As of Saturday Cairns (is) linked to all mainland State and Territory capitals and as schools across the country commence their summer breaks we expect numbers to continue to increase."
Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Daniel Gschwind said the closure of international borders will open up a lucrative new market for Queensland operators - worth up to $52 billion.
"5 million Australians took a holiday overseas last year, spending $50 billion dollars, so this is a chance for us to tap into some of that,"
"(We're) putting the pieces of the puzzle back together again, the airlines the transport, the hospitality, the hotels."
Qantas expects to return to 70 per cent capacity by January when Brisbane airport predicts it will host more than 1000 weekly flights.
Mr Hogan said the said the tourism increase highlighted the need for the further easing of venue restrictions to allow hospitality businesses to accommodate for demand.
"It's definitely a step in the right direction but - assuming the health outcomes allow us to - we've got to keep stepping forward," he said.
"We've got a long way to go and we want January and February to keep the momentum going," Mr Gambaro said.
Originally published as $15b economic boom the perfect Xmas gift for Qld