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Saturday 29 August 2020

Tourism leaders want state borders opened

Members of the Australian tourism industry have called on the nation's state premiers and chief ministers to reopen state borders as part of a grassroots campaign. 
In what seems to me to be desperate self interest rather than the national interest, the campaign is using the slogan #SaveAussieTourism.
An open online letter has been endorsed by tourism leaders as well as smaller independent operators and appeals to the states' leaders to demonstrate a way forward to restore interstate travel and protect the domestic tourism market. 
The letter, with an open invitation to join in support, is available here:

Signatories to date include Flight Centre Travel Group CEO Graham Turner, Spicers Retreats owner and founder Jude Turner, Helloworld Travel Executive Director and CEO Cinzia and Andrew Burnes and Intrepid Travel CEO James Thornton. 
A press releases says the list of signed supporters includes accommodation and tour operators to travel agents, vehicle hire companies, industry bodies and regional destination offices.
That said, I don't know anyone in Tasmania, where I live, who wants to allow tourists from other states to visit until it is deemed safe. Another lockdown would end many small businesses who are holding on thanks to instrastate right now. 
The Australian tourism industry has been hard hit by the Coronavirus pandemic and is an industry that directly employs around 660,000 Australians. 
That said, surely lives are more important than jobs? 
Craig Bradbery, Chief Operating Officer of Baillie Lodges who penned the open letter, said the industry's opportunity to benefit by reaching a whole new market of domestic travellers created by restrictions to overseas travel during Covid-19 had been dashed by the ongoing changes to state border restrictions.
“There's been so much support and pent-up demand to date from domestic travellers, but now as we've been forced to ask our guests to once again postpone their trips and re-arrange flights," Bradbery said. "People are fed up and losing confidence in the whole idea of planning and booking a holiday.” 
“For the tourism industry, this should have been our moment - a chance for Aussie travellers to discover the many wonders of our own remarkable country. But as state borders like Queensland and the Northern Territory now look to remain closed, tourism businesses can't survive for an extended period solely on the support from intrastate travellers.” 
Your thoughts? 

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