Tourism Whitsunday CEO Tash Wheeler is pushing for more clarification on the border reopening. Picture: Laura Thomas
Tourism Whitsunday CEO Tash Wheeler is pushing for more clarification on the border reopening. Picture: Laura Thomas

How the Qld border opening will affect Whitsunday, Mackay

TOURISM leaders are calling for further clarification on a partial reopening of the Queensland border, saying strong interstate travel will be crucial in keeping businesses afloat.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today announced Queensland would partially reopen to New South Wales.

Residents from 32 local government areas of Sydney will remain blocked from entering the state.

However, travellers from other areas of New South Wales will be able to visit from November 3 if they present a valid border declaration pass.

Tourism Whitsundays CEO Tash Wheeler welcomed the news but said more clarification on when Sydneysiders could travel to the sunshine state was needed.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the partial border reopening this morning. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the partial border reopening this morning. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

“Leading into the Christmas period, our industry had hoped to be able to firm up bookings from the metropolitan Sydney area, however, this is a step in the right direction,” she said.

“On behalf of the Whitsundays tourism industry, I am appealing to Queensland Government to give some clear review dates around the border openings for Greater Sydney.

“The Christmas school holidays are just a blink away, and many of our operators will be relying on interstate travel to ensure their businesses survive into 2021.”

Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young said the State Government would review reopening to Greater Sydney at the end of November.

Mackay Tourism CEO Tas Webber said the announcement was great news for the region.

“It’s a new target market coming back,” Mr Webber said.

Mr Webber said the southern visitors were the region’s second largest source of tourism dollars, behind intrastate travellers.

With all of Queensland battling for the rare tourism dollar, Mr Webber said Mackay had a competitive advantage after two major sports events were set for the region.

“It’s all that attention from the AFL and the WNBL,” he said.

“We can capitalise on that southern market.”

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He said businesses could form packages to appeal to the travellers, who would hopefully start rolling in by November.

“I think you’ll find they’ll be looking for the regional escape,” he said.

The Premier said New South Wales residents would be able to travel to Sydney airport and fly into Queensland.

Whitsunday Coast Airport’s Craig Turner said there were flights scheduled from Sydney to Whitsunday Coast Airport from November 10.

The aviation and tourism chief operating officer said if there was high demand, the flights could potentially start sooner.

Jetstar will fly three return flights from Sydney every week.


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