Local tourism operates are relieved to start seeing booking comfirmations.
Local tourism operates are relieved to start seeing booking comfirmations.

A sigh of relief for local tourism operators

SOUTHWEST tourism operators are breathing a sigh of relief after traveller bookings have started back up after the announcement of Stage Two easing of restrictions.

As 12pm Monday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has allowed Queenslanders to travel anywhere in the state and has encouraged locals to take trips to places they’ve never been before.

Charlie Eames from Roma Central Motel said since Sunday, he’s received a dozen inquiries and bookings.

“We’re usually receiving cancellations, so it’s great to get some bookings – mostly for the school holidays coming up,” he said.

Mr Eames has followed industry surveys and feedback stated most holiday goers will be willing to travel 500-600km.

“That’s good news for the Maranoa as we’re an easy half-day drive from Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast,” he said.

“Those willing to travel that distance think if something does happen, at least they can head back home.

“The taskforce and our work with council will ensure we target that market – those wanting to get in their car and drive this way and stay at hotels and cabins a long the way.

“But we want to see the caravans too – bums on beds is always helpful.”

Mr Eames said it’s a promising outlook for his staff too.

“We’ve been able to get staff back onboard and give them extra hours,” he said.

Similarly, Tim Eddy from the Big Rig Tourist Park said more than 20 travellers have made bookings – both for the school holidays and grey nomads.

“This is great news – a welcome relief for sure,” Mr Eddy said.

“We’ve remained open the whole time for essential travellers and workers allowing us to still have some work to do.”

However, Mr Eddy said the business would really benefit if the premier opened the state’s borders.

“I want them open,” he said.

“The majority of our clientele at this time of year come from New South Wales and Victoria and they’re not allowed to,” he said.

“While we are getting an upkick in Queensland travellers, a larger percentage of our business comes from interstate travellers.

“So we really need those customers coming into town.”