Qld tourism boss says 90 percent vax reopening target ‘unrealistic’

Keeping Queensland’s borders shut until it reaches a 90 percent vaccination rate will only extend the pain for the downtrodden holiday sector, the state’s peak tourism body says.

International and state border closures over the past 18 months have dried up the regular flow of visitors that support Queensland’s $10 billion tourism industry and Queensland Tourism Industry Council boss Daniel Gschwind says there is no need for an extra hurdle to be added.

“Look, we don‘t need another setback, that is for certain,” Mr. Gschwind said on Tuesday morning.

“We have done a tough across Australia. In Queensland, we had the benefit of being able to move about most of the time across the state, and Queenslanders have been enjoying the great weather and some destinations… but ultimately, we have to open up.

“Many operators are hanging on by their fingernails.”

Mr Gschwind told the Brisbane Times the move would “devastate” tourism operators counting on visitors from the southern states.

“It would effectively cancel Christmas, for interstate travel at least,” he said.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has already rejected reports her government is eyeing a reopening target higher than the 80 percent full vaccination figure agreed to by the national cabinet, saying it was too early to speculate.

A spokesman for the Premier on Monday denied an enhanced 90 percent threshold had been endorsed, even though chief health officer Jeanette Young expressed publicly she would like to see that figure achieved.

TOURISM PRESSER
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has already denied reports her government is eyeing a reopening target higher than the 80 per cent full vaccination figure agreed to by the national cabinet. Picture: NCA NewsWire / John Gass

Ms. Palaszczuk has also noted that the Doherty Institute was reviewing its road map and the target could be higher.

Mr. Gschwind on Tuesday morning said there was no doubt that a 90 percent full vaccination rate was ideal, but not a realistic target for reopening.

“We all hope… it will be 90 percent but I think the expectation of that happening is low and not many countries if any have reached it around the world,” he said.

VACCINATION QLD
More than 60 per cent of Queenslanders had received their first vaccination dose following the weekend’s Super-Pfizer push, while just over 41 per cent are now fully vaxxed. Picture: NCA NewsWire / John Gass

Cairns Adventure Group director Roderic Rees said his business was currently holding on as best it could, given no reopening date had been set.

“It‘s so shocking. We need a road map. We need a date,” he said

“If we get into mid-December and people in Victoria and NSW start traveling overseas, and they can’t come into Queensland, that is an unacceptable result for the tourism industry. We just – we can’t survive if that happens and we need to ensure that doesn’t happen.”

More than 60 percent of Queenslanders have received their first vaccination dose following the weekend’s Super-Pfizer push, while just over 41 percent are fully vaxxed.

The state is reportedly on track to reach 70 percent full vaccination of over 16s by mid-November, and 80 percent by early December.

This article originally appeared on Escape

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