Queensland tourism to receive a much-needed boost
The addition of an Ekka long weekend is set to revitalise Queensland’s tourism industry.
Queenslanders have landed an extra long weekend on their calendar much to the delight of the state’s struggling tourism industry.
The Brisbane Ekka public holiday will now move from Wednesday, 12 August, to Friday, 14 August, to help tourism operators get through the coronavirus pandemic.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk urged south-east Queenslanders to use the one-off long weekend to give the local tourism industry a much-needed boost.
“Everyone knows the Ekka is when the bush meets the city,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Since that can’t happen this year, this gives the city the chance to go to bush – or the beach – have a break and let Queenslanders support Queenslanders in our wonderful tourism industry.”
President of Granite Belt Wine & Tourism Martin Cooper (pictured below) said the decision to move the public holiday was an “absolute delight” to tourism operators.
“The change to create a long weekend will have a dramatically positive effect on the tourism industry,” Mr Cooper said.
“Historically, long weekends have always proven to be some of our busiest trading periods.
“While you can have a two-day stay if you can add another day to that, it just makes the whole visit, a lot more relaxed.”
Mr Cooper said the tourism industry had started to bounce back a little bit with the relaxation of coronavirus travel restrictions.
“It’s been a tough slog, but the biggest thing for us was the recent relaxation of non-essential travel which saw an increase in our bookings as we were able to open for accommodation,” he said.
“Across Queensland, the evidence we see with the take-up in bookings is positive and the research from Tourism Events Queensland (TEQ) shows people are breaking their necks to travel across Queensland as soon as they can.”
Mr Cooper said the relaxation of interstate travel could help the industry further, but Queensland should first focus on increasing the number of intrastate travellers.
“Intrastate travel and the allowance to travel even further across Queensland when the next lot of restrictions are eased will have a big impact,” Mr Cooper said.
“Before the pandemic, we were solidly booked with eight cabins and guests in the house for 10 days over Easter, and all of them were cancelled.
“Since people were allowed to travel further, our weekend bookings have been solid again and even our weeks are starting to fill up.”
Tourism Minister Kate Jones encouraged families to take advantage of the new long weekend and support Queensland tourism businesses.
“This is a great win for the tourism industry,” Ms Jones said.
“We’re urging families to take advantage of the long weekend – get out of the house and support local businesses.”