Coronavirus named ‘biggest tourism crisis’ the Gold Coast has faced

February 26th, 2020 | | industry

Coronavirus is “the biggest crisis that [the] Gold Coast tourism sector has faced in its history” according a peak tourism body, with estimates the epidemic has already cost the glitter strip some $500 million.

Key points:

  • Tourism industry data suggests coronavirus has already cost the Gold Coast hundreds of millions of dollars
  • Destination Gold Coast fears the number of flights into the city could drop due to low patronage from Asian countries
  • The State Government has announced a $27m aid package for Queensland, but the peak tourism body wants more direct funding

Destination Gold Coast’s chief executive Annaliese Battista has called for $10 million from the State Government, and said the $2.4 million offered last week is “disappointing”.

“It’s bigger than SARS, it’s bigger than the Global Financial Crisis,” Ms Battista said. Our 3,500 tourism businesses are hurting and they need support now.”

Ms Battista has also called for $2 million from the Gold Coast City Council, with Mayor Tom Tate on Tuesday pledging to fund half that amount.

Destination Gold Coast said it would use that funding for an expanded marketing campaign aimed at attracting tourists from New Zealand and Australia.

Fears number of aviation routes will fall

Ms Battista said airports and airlines have expressed concern to Destination Gold Coast that “valuable aviation routes” could be lost due to poor patronage, including nine routes to Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

“We’re also seeing some reluctance to travel out of markets like Japan, Singapore, Korea and Hong Kong,” she said. “The problem when you lose aviation routes is that they can take five years to return, if they return at all.”

Ms Battista said despite recent success increasing market share in visitors from east coast capital cities, the Gold Coast’s tourism sector must tap into more markets outside of China.

“The vast majority are small businesses and they’re reporting to us that they’re needing to cut hours, they’re needing to shed employees,” she said. “No one’s going after New Zealand at the moment, but that’s a market that’s very strong for the Gold Coast.”

In December the first direct route from Seoul, Korea, to the Gold Coast was opened for the first time.

It was estimated the route could attract about 52,000 extra inbound tourists per year.

$27m aid injection

The State Government has announced a $27 million aid package for tourism, education and agriculture across Queensland amid estimates coronavirus could cost those sectors $2 billion.

Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the package will have flow-on benefits for the Gold Coast.

“The money is for Tourism and Events Queensland to work with tourism operators [Destination Gold Coast] to get that money out the door,” she said. “We want to pull together packages with Gold Coast hotels, Gold Coast attractions, and get international visitors from other key markets outside of China.”

Ms Jones said $7 million of the package would improve the state’s tourism industry’s reach into Japan, US and New Zealand.

“While it isn’t a cheque directly to the Gold Coast tourism organisation, it is absolutely new money to promote Queensland,” she said.

Council chips in $1m

Mayor Tom Tate said it was “a fine balance of using ratepayer funds”, but confirmed council will provide more than $1m to Destination Gold Coast.

“Overall, I know that education, international students, and other people are crying out for help,” he said.

“For Destination Gold Coast the next budget is going to be challenging, but we’re going to have to work with them and deliver a budget they can work with.”

About one in seven jobs on the Gold Coast are tourism-related.

Source : ABC

Sourced by Mike Barrow