Open borders welcome world!

Happy days! Australian accommodation & tourism sector welcomes back international tourists with open arms

After taking a staggering $68.6 billion hit during the COVID pandemic Australian tourism is now ready to shine again, it will emerge stronger from the rubble as it welcomes visitors from around the world.

After urging the Federal Government to unlock international borders for many months, Queensland Tourism Industry Council Chief Executive Daniel Gschwind told us he is very happy that Australia is now open to the world.

He said: “Our state’s tourism operators have felt the financial blow, with many forced to downsize or close their doors permanently.

“The reopening of our nation’s borders to international tourists has provided Queensland’s tourism industry with a much-needed confidence boost and an assurance that our industry is on the road to recovery.

“Yet the financial benefits of open international borders won’t be instantaneously felt by our operators.

“As Australia is one of the last countries to open its borders to international tourists, Queensland will be competing with established holiday destinations all vying for holidaymakers.”

Mr Gschwind said it was critical that the tourism industry worked in partnership with the private sector, and Federal and State Governments to rebuild the perception of travel as a safe activity.

And he said it was vital that all concerned worked to re-establish Queensland’s tourism brand “as one of the best in the world”.

“Our tourism industry is hopeful and looking forward to 2022 and beyond,” he said, “but we know that there is a lot of hard work ahead of us yet”.

Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO Michael Johnson also welcomed the return of international travellers. He said the opening of borders after almost two years is the first step in a very long road to recovery and great news for decimated accommodation hotels.

“The border has been shut to foreign tourists for 704 days and it is great to have it finally open again,” said Mr Johnson. “It is the first step in a long recovery process and an important milestone, but it will be several years before we return to anything like pre-COVID levels of trade.

“Occupancy in our major gateways of Sydney and Melbourne is sitting around 30 percent and we are in the midst of a staffing crisis which is having a huge impact on the ability of major hotels to function.”

Mr Johnson said the most important aspect of re-opening the border is building confidence.

“It finally sends a message to the world’s travelers we are open and ready to accept them back. And it hopefully sends a message to the thousands of international students and working holidaymakers we desperately need that it is safe for them to return to their Australian adventure,” he said.


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