Mackay Tourism’s hopes high for NQ travel bubble
NORTH Queensland tourism leaders are one step closer to securing a travel bubble from Mackay to Cairns after a meeting with the Queensland Premier this week.
Annastacia Palaszczuk has confirmed she will announce her decision by Sunday, with the outcome looking promising for struggling tourism operators who rely heavily on domestic travel.
The proposed travel bubble would include Mackay, the Whitsundays, Cairns, Townsville and Outback regions and begin on June 12 in line with stage 2 restrictions.
If adopted, it would be the lifeline the economy desperately needed, Mackay Tourism CEO Tas Webber said.
WEDNESDAY'S meeting was a positive step forward to securing travel freedom for NQ, with the Premier revealing she had taken the travel bubble suggestion directly to the Chief Health Officer to assess.
"I appreciated the opportunity to hear direct about proposals to further support the Mackay Whitsunday region recover from COVID-19," the Premier said.
"I understand the impacts this is having on people and local economies and I am determined to do everything possible to support Queensland jobs.
"I thank the industry for submitting a detailed plan, which will now be carefully assessed by the Chief Health Officer."
Thanks to our successful efforts in flattening the curve, 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 Whitsunday's Tash Wheeler and Glenn Bourke from Hamilton Island joined with Mr Webber to urge the government to fastrack easing travel restrictions.
The push is proving successful so far but with this week's Blackwater death and a Rockhampton nurse's unexpected diagnosis, it may be some time before we can welcome our southern counterparts in exploring the state.