Southwest ready for flood of post-COVID tourists
BOOKINGS are starting to flow in from travellers and holiday-makers with tourism operators in the Maranoa region excited to again receive guests after no-one arriving for a couple of months.
Explorer’s Inn’s Richard Condon said the situation improved for them from the time the Premier announced the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and told travellers to “get off your bums and go travelling”
“It’s certainly improved,” he said. “We’re quite happy about it and our dining room is getting quite busy. We can only have 20. We have to make two sittings.”
Mr Condon is disappointed though that the Premier did not further ease restrictions to increase the numbers of restaurant guests to 50 or open the borders to southern states considering the low numbers of coronavirus infections across the country.
“There’s been no outbreak here. Here we are with no virus but we’re stymied with controls from a government in the south east,” he said.
“This time of year the interstate tourism is phenomenal. It gets us through the months of January, February and March when it’s too hot for travellers.”
Villa Holiday Park manager Chloe Toulson agreed bookings began picking up on Monday just after the easing of COVID-19 restrictions were announced.
“We’re getting a lot more calls,” she said. “Before that it was really just cancellations for a good while.”
Ms Toulson said this time of year was normally “very busy” with their phone constantly ringing and the park filled with visitors, mostly with guests from the southern states.
Bookings have come in for families and single people travelling through the area, she said.
The situation has been the same at The Overlander. Owner Amanda Weyman-Jones said the eased COVID-19 restrictions had definitely made a difference with calls coming in, particularly from families taking western trips.
The Stage 2 easing of restrictions that came into force on Monday allow unlimited travel and overnight stays for all Queenslanders and gatherings of up to 20 people per defined area.
Up to 20 people are now allowed to gather in areas including homes, restaurants and pubs, public spaces, gyms, swimming pools, art galleries, museums, playgrounds, cinemas, zoos, amusement parks, theatres, libraries and beauty salons and up to 50 people are allowed at funerals. Recreational travel, camping and accommodation is permitted across the state.
Articles contributed by Margie Maccoll are supported by the Judith Neilson Insititute of Journalism and Ideas.