Mayor Andrew Willcox, CEO of Tourism Whitsundays Tash Wheeler, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, CEO of Queensland Tourism Industry Council Daniel Gschwind and Tourism Minister Kate Jones
Mayor Andrew Willcox, CEO of Tourism Whitsundays Tash Wheeler, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, CEO of Queensland Tourism Industry Council Daniel Gschwind and Tourism Minister Kate Jones

Premier responds to calls for border reopening

THE Premier has responded to calls from the Whitsunday tourism industry to open the state border to boost tourism numbers and help them stay afloat.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk visited Airlie Beach yesterday to announce that the Whitsunday Coast Airport had teamed up with a new airline partner, Alliance Airlines, to recommence flights in and out of the region at the end of this month.

However, Ms Palaszczuk stood firm on the state border closures, saying reviews would be made in line with the State Government's roadmap to recovery.

"We will look at (reopening the state border) in Stage 3," she said.

"It was never canvassed in Stage 2 and the best way that Queensland can support Queenslanders is by booking a holiday or short break or an extended school holiday break with their families over the upcoming school holidays."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan "called out" the Premier for her inaction on opening the border and proposed they should be opened on June 26 in time for the school holidays.

"She's not in touch with the tourism operators," he said.

"We need to open up the place to facilitate tourists from interstate.

"We're going to miss the window otherwise. You can't wait for the weather to improve on the Gold Coast in September.

"We've got to have the interstate flights. We're not going to see magic in fixing problems by just letting people from southeast Queensland come here."

Chief executive officer of Queensland Tourism Industry Council Daniel Gschwind also addressed concerns over opening borders in Airlie Beach yesterday.

Mr Gschwind said while interstate travel was a key part of Queensland's tourism market, the lack of international travel could be used to the region's advantage.

"It's really important for us to rescue some of that winter season for the Whitsundays and other destinations in Queensland," he said.

"We also have to remember there are 5 million Australians who go overseas normally for their holidays, they spend $50 billion overseas, and they won't be doing that any time soon.

"With a destination like the Whitsundays, we're in the game.

"We can convince some of those 5 million Australians to spend some of that $50 billion right here, locally, and support local communities and local businesses."


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