$15b at stake: Business leaders apply pressure on borders
Some of the country's biggest tourism figures have joined forces in a campaign demanding the reopening of state borders.
If the Queensland borders remain closed to our most important interstate markets of NSW and Victoria until Christmas, the state's tourism industry is set for a $15 billion black hole.
In an open letter to premiers and chief ministers across Australia - backed by tourism heavyweights including Flight Centre boss Graham "Skroo" Turner, Helloworld Travel executive director Cinzia Burnes and Intrepid Travel CEO James Thornton - operators have called for border travel bans to be lifted to help the industry survive.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will today bluntly call for a common set of rules for borders to reopen under, after revealing he has been inundated with letters and emails about the stress the restrictions have put Australians under, particularly in the regions.
"We need to get borders open, based on a common set of fair, simple principles taking into account advice from health professionals," Mr Morrison will say.
"Borders cost the communities and the economies they constrain. They must be proportionate to the risk that presents.
Baillie Lodges chief operating officer Craig Bradbery, who penned the tourism letter which has since been signed by hundreds of tourism operators, said the ongoing border closures were killing the tourism industry.
"There's been so much support and pent-up demand to date from domestic travellers, but now as we've been forced to ask our guests to once again postpone their trips and rearrange flights, people are fed up and losing confidence in the whole idea of planning and booking a holiday," he said.
"For the tourism industry, this should have been our moment - a chance for Aussie travellers to discover the many wonders of our own remarkable country.
"But as state borders like Queensland and the Northern Territory now look to remain closed, tourism businesses can't survive for an extended period solely on the support from intrastate travellers."
Queensland's tourism industry was last year worth almost $27 billion to the state's economy, but almost two-thirds of that came from interstate and international travel.
The tourists still allowed to travel to Queensland - those from SA, WA, Tasmania and the NT - make only a small portion of a domestic tourism market dominated by NSW and Victoria.
Victorians have not been allowed into Queensland since March, while NSW residents outside of the Tweed 'border bubble' had only a small window between July 10 and the reclosure of borders just weeks later.
However, with Victoria's coronavirus death toll continuing to climb, there would seem little chance of a border reprieve in the near future.
A spokesman for Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the borders had been closed on health advice to keep Queenslanders safe, with the position to be reviewed at the end of each month.
Originally published as $15b at stake: Business leaders apply pressure on borders