Tourism in Byron Bay is suffering from border closures.
Tourism in Byron Bay is suffering from border closures.

Border closure could blow billion dollar hole in our economy

QUEENSLAND'S hard border closure could blow a $1.4 billion hole in the North Coast's tourism economy if restrictions on visitors from the sunshine state continue.

It equates to $120 million dollars in lost revenue per month from the mainly overnight and day trippers from southeast Queensland.

While the North Coast, for the purpose of these figures, extends north from Hawks Nest to the Tweed border, most of the visitation and money spent centres on the Northern Rivers.

Tourists from Queensland make up roughly a third of all the visitors to the North Coast and, with travel outside of the so-called "border bubble" restricted, things look grim for tourist operators as Christmas rapidly approaches.

President of the Northern Rivers Business Chamber Advisory Council Cameron Arnold said some of the shortfall could be made up from travellers within NSW and the ACT.

"The general feeling is that we are doing OK, but it is a big loss to compensate from local tourism and from elsewhere in NSW," he said.

"But the fear is we have business that have either closed and won't reopen or have closed because of JobKeeper and will not be reopening.

"The demand remains but people who are visiting region and find restaurants and businesses are not open and the worry is they will go away with a poor experience and won't come back next time."

Extra flights into Ballina-Byron airport from Canberra and Dubbo would help alleviate some of the huge shortfall in revenue.

 

A plane lands at Ballina Airport.
A plane lands at Ballina Airport.

 

Mr Arnold said local business and political leaders were also hoping to chip away and gain more exemptions to the border bubble.

"We definitely hope the border is open before Christmas and mechanisms are in place to understand the decisions being made rather than thinking they are political."



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