Pandemic takes toll on Queensland tourism

Lockdowns shake locals’ confidence in essential industry.

Tangalooma Island Resort, located on Mulgumpin Moreton Island, is one of many Queensland tourism providers impacted by continuing state border closures and COVID-19 outbreaks. 

Tangalooma Island Resort Director David James said lockdowns, both in Queensland and other states, had significantly impacted the 41-year-old business. 

“We spent considerable time and money marketing Tangalooma into key interstate markets, which saw share of business from interstate rise to approximately 35% of all visitation,” Mr James said. 

“This was a great result, but we have subsequently suffered as the return of COVID lockdowns in New South Wales and Victoria meant much of this progress has been eroded as we have had to return to 100% local business in recent months.” 

While Queenslanders have always been the largest market for the resort, multiple lockdowns meant Queenslanders are reluctant to travel within the state.

“We are proud of our Queensland heritage and feel a strong responsibility to Brisbane residents to provide a tourism destination that they are proud of,” Mr James said.
“These border lockdowns hurt everyone in tourism, and it has shaken booking confidence in domestic travellers significantly.”

According to the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF), Australian tourism operators are continuing to lose more than $6 billion per month due to the ban on international travel and state border closures.

Before the pandemic more than 660,000 Australians worked in the tourism industry which contributed $60 billion to the country’s GDP. 

The Accommodation Association of Australia’s (AAOA) Australian Hotel Industry Sentiment Survey revealed 41% of accommodation providers expected it to take more than 18 months to return to pre-COVID levels.

Mr James said consumer confidence was a major challenge for the Queensland tourism industry.

“It is difficult to attract guests to book, when lockdowns are always threatening in the background,” he said.

“Consumers are gun-shy from being unable to take their holidays due to lockdowns and are now tending to book at the last minute or avoid travelling altogether due to the fear of COVID outbreaks in the community.

“Any lockdown has the ability to cripple the resort and undo months of positive rebuilding efforts in an instant.”

While Tangalooma Island Resort proactively addresses pandemic-related safety concerns, Mr James said meeting government vaccination targets was key to reviving the Queensland tourism industry.

“The best way to build consumer confidence to travel again is through high vaccination rates in the community that will ultimately diminish the health impacts COVID has on the broader community,” he said.

“We 100% support all efforts to drive vaccination uptake across the state, country and internationally in the fastest way possible. 

“We also have a duty of care to our customers and staff to minimise the risk of contracting COVID, and we will do all we can to ensure our staff can get access to the vaccine as soon as possible. 

“Overwhelmingly our staff understand that their job and financial security is inevitably linked to vaccination rates. 

“The sooner the population is vaccinated the lesser the impacts of lockdowns, the greater consumer confidence becomes and the closer we get to returning our lives to normal.”

How to get vaccinated

Queenslanders should register their interest in getting a COVID-19 vaccine to secure an appointment at one of Queensland Health’s vaccination locations across the state.

Once registered, you will be asked to book an appointment in your local area when they become available. 

Eligible Queenslanders can also make an appointment via the Vaccine Eligibility Checker to receive their COVID-19 vaccine at an approved General Practice (GP), GP-led respiratory clinic, Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Service, or a participating community pharmacy.

Read more about how to register and book.