Just say the word: Holiday hordes at our gates
Thousands of southern families have booked Queensland holidays in the hope the state will end its border blockade tomorrow.
On the eve of the election, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is under increasing pressure to open the state to Sydney, and eventually Victoria, in a move that would deliver an estimated $20 million a day to the state economy.
It is now over seven weeks since the last community-transmitted COVID-19 case in Queensland, but restrictions limiting the number of people in restaurants, bars, weddings and funerals remain in place ahead of the Premier's announcement.
As business owners struggle with the uncertainty, southerners are rushing to book Queensland holidays, with Expedia Group reporting a surge in demand.
The company revealed a spike of 115 per cent for Sunshine State holidays from NSW with Queensland also the most commonly searched destination, making up almost half of all domestic searches on the platform.
Market management senior director Drew Bowering said the surges in interstate travel interest were in line with border reopening dates.
"Our data shows a peak in domestic searches for Queensland, which has fared reasonably well during COVID-19 compared to southern counterparts," he said.
A Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland-Suncorp Pulse Survey this week revealed 99 per cent of businesses were unsure if they would survive for 12 months once federal government funding support dried up.
CCIQ economist and policy adviser Jack Baxter said businesses could not afford the ongoing uncertainty.
"There are businesses that are in a holding pattern, unable to plan their next moves, and unable to get back on track because of this ongoing noncommittal position," he said.
"Our tourism regions and providers are ready to welcome an influx of visitors, but for people to book they also need assurance and certainty that they will be able to follow through with their plans."
A Queensland Health spokeswoman said restrictions would only be eased based on recommendations by the Chief Health Officer.
"Keeping Queenslanders well, both physically and mentally, is our top priority," she said.
"We said we would ease restrictions in phases and manage this sensibly, and that's what we are doing."
Season Restaurant Noosa manager Nathan Reynolds said he hoped the borders reopened as soon as possible.
"I think the Sunshine Coast, and particularly Noosa, depends on tourism, so for us it'd be great to see them open as soon as possible," he said.
"I think easing restrictions would be perfect for everyone."
Mr Reynolds said he hoped to see the tourism industry come booming back once the borders reopened.
"I'd anticipate that as soon as the borders open we'd definitely be a tourism hot spot," he said. "You have to be incredibly careful with COVID but we personally welcome the NSW guests up to Noosa, we miss them."
Originally published as Just say the word: Holiday hordes at our gates