‘This is going to be worse than SARS or the GFC’
GOLD Coast tourism bosses warn the city is already seeing the impact of a Coronavirus-inspired downturn as industry figures warn the crisis is the "the worst in living memory".
Destination Gold Coast has held crisis talks with the State and Federal Government this week lobbying for urgent financial intervention to keep the city's $6 billion industry afloat.
Earlier this week the Bulletin revealed industry leaders were calling for $5 million to be put towards a Coast-only recovery package.
Destination Gold Coast CEO Annaliese Battista said yesterday she was pleased with the progress of talks this week.
"What I want to see now is for the state and federal government to show us that they mean business through urgent financial assistance," she said.
"What we are asking for, along with sympathy and moral support is financial help and we make no bones about needing it immediately.
"We need to protect the industry against what is proving to be the worst crisis in living memory - worse than the global financial crisis and SARS."
Early estimates suggest the coronavirus outbreak could cost the Gold Coast $40 million as the Chinese market weakens but this number is expected to grow.
The outbreak has affected 28 countries and killed more than 565 people, with at least 28,000 confirmed cases.
Five people have been found infected by the condition on the Gold Coast, with the latest case diagnosed last night.
All arrived in the city as part of a nine-person tour group from Wuhan last week.
Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce president Martin Hall said the impact of Coronavirus was already apparent.
"We have seen a reduction in the number of people coming to the Gold Coast," he said.
"The knock-on effect for business has been the fall in the amount of cash going to operators which, given the heavy reliance on the casual workforce, means people are feeling it.
"There has also been a drop in the tour groups coming in."
The city's theme parks are also feeling the pinch.
Village Roadshow chief operating officer Bikash Randhawa said he was holding out hope of domestic tourists returning to the city over Easter.
"Tourism is our bread and butter and wee need to do what we can to manage this and keep our business growing," he said.
"Everyone is trying to get a grip in it and we are hoping Easter will get people here and enjoying the great facilities we have."