Cost of COVID-19: Visitor spending loss could hit $169m
WHILE residents are starting to see the light at the end of the COVID-19 restrictions tunnel, the virus has undoubtedly taken its toll on the industry.
Bundaberg Tourism CEO Katherine Reid there was a an estimated visitor expenditure loss for the four months from March to June of $169m.
She said that multimillion-dollar hit was "new money" that hadn't been circulating in the Bundaberg economy.
"This estimate is made up of day trip, domestic and international visitors, based on the year ending December 2019 National and International Visitor Survey results from Tourism Research Australia," she said.
Despite the challenging times facing the industry, Ms Reid was optimistic for the future of Bundaberg's tourism industry,
"We're a resilient and remarkable bunch," she said.
"We've already seen our share of hard times and we know that by working together, we stay stronger.
"The region's operators are handling the restrictions by really banding together, supporting each other with hope and optimism for the future."
Ms Reid said about 10 million Australian's travelled offshore last year.
"And the Bundaberg region, with Lady Musgrave and Lady Elliot off our shores, our big Bundaberg brands and culinary attributes complemented by our beautiful natural environments and welcoming locals - is well placed to tap into Australians looking to travel domestically, in our own backyard, as restrictions ease."
As restrictions ease, Bundaberg Tourism is encouraging locals to explore their own backyard, just like the 1.7 million visitors did last year.
According to the Road map to Easing Restrictions Stage 2, from June 12 holiday travel within one's region will be promoted.
"All things going well, from June school holidays, Queenslanders will be able to drive and stay at accommodation for the first time since the pandemic hit," Premier Annastacia Palaszczuksaid.
Stages 2 and 3 aim at gradually increasing travel distances and numbers for businesses in time for June school holidays.
For more visit www.covid19.qld.gov.au/updates