Millions lost as Gold Coast ‘misses the boat’ on tourists
THE Gold Coast's top tourism boss says the city has "missed the boat" for the July school holidays, costing the city millions of dollars in lost income.
Interstate travel including Queensland is on track to resume on July 10 according to the Prime Minister and State Government but it's too late for accommodation providers or local traders to benefit from upcoming school holidays which end days later.
Destination Gold Coast CEO Annaliese Battista said the shell-shocked sector, worth $6 billion annually before the COVID pandemic, was focused on bouncing back in September: "We have missed the boat as a destination for the July school holidays because the booking window is normally six to eight weeks before. This is a great shame.
"We could have been looking at a July revival from the depths of COVID but September will be the more realistic goal for the sector.
"We'll have missed the pent-up demand and once people have been able to take a holiday there will no longer be the same burning desire to travel.
To recapture the market, Destination Gold Coast is launching a multimillion-dollar marketing blitz in southern states to attract travellers back to the Gold Coast in non-peak periods of late July and August.
Ms Battista said the campaign was carefully budgeted to secure the best results.
"What we are preparing for in earnest is a multimillion-dollar campaign," she said.
"We will go into the core markets of regional Victoria and NSW (but) are conscious of over-investing after losing the booking window for July."
Tourism Research Australia figures show interstate tourists spent $2.49 billion on the Gold Coast in 2019, with visitors from New South Wales outspending Queensland visitors on the Glitter Strip.
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said firms were hurting: "Tourists from NSW and Victoria pumped more than $2 billion into the Gold Coast economy last year, supporting thousands of jobs.
"Almost 10,000 visitors from NSW and Victoria filled Gold Coast restaurants, hotels and theme parks on any given day.
"Reopening the interstate border is the first step towards restarting the economy."
Mayor Tom Tate said several countries in Asia would be among the first he'd target.
"In the next 12 months we'll heavily focus on NZ," he said. "The safest way to open the borders will be the drive market then NZ as well as those travelling within Australia.
"I will be guided by what countries will be open to use healthwise but I will prioritise nations like Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and Japan."
Originally published as Millions lost as Coast 'misses the boat' on tourists