Push for Queenslanders to see own state
QUEENSLAND'S ailing tourism industry would be thrown a massive lifeline if travel restrictions on the state's five million residents were eased in time to take advantage of the winter holiday season.
New analysis has revealed more than 80 per cent of the domestic visitors to some regional centres are Queenslanders touring their home state, demonstrating how removing intrastate travel bans would help resuscitate local tourism businesses.
Business lobby group, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ), has joined calls from tourism leaders to fast-track the lifting of state travel restrictions.
"Bringing forward the ability for Queenslanders to travel around Queensland in a COVID-safe way will give businesses and consumers the ability to start planning and importantly spending across the state," CCIQ's Amanda Rohan told The Courier-Mail.
"If state-based travel is announced now in time for the school holidays, people can book time off, plan their trip, book their accommodation and be spending in a range of businesses, which will be a gigantic boost for our economy. There are regions in Queensland which have had no new COVID-19 cases for weeks, some have never had any cases … they are ready to get back to business."
From June 12, Queenslanders will be able to travel up to 250km from their homes as part of stage two of the Palaszczuk Government's easing of restrictions road map. However, unfettered travel to anywhere in the state won't be allowed until July 10 at the earliest, which is two days before school holidays end.
NSW residents will be allowed to travel anywhere in their state from Monday.
The travel limit imposed on Queenslanders will severely hinder the revival of the tourism industry, which is facing months without interstate tourists after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk indicated the border closure may not be lifted until September.
In the far-north, 67.7 per cent of domestic visitors during 2019 were Queenslanders, while in the Whitsundays the figure was 63.4 per cent. Even on the Gold Coast, a mecca for interstate and international tourists, almost half of domestic visitors last year were from other parts of Queensland.
Ms Rohan said the Government seemed to be waiting for conditions to be "perfect" to allow travel, yet this scenario may never happen.
"Queenslanders love to visit places within the state. Let's give the economy the chance to start recovering now."
Queenslanders travelling in their home state as a % of the region's domestic tourism market:
Gold Coast 48.2%
Sunshine Coast 72.4%
Far-north Qld 67.7%
Wide Bay 87.3%
South West Qld 79.9%
Fraser Coast 75.5%
Originally published as Push for Queenslanders to see own state