Byron Bay set to cash in on Queensland border closure with NSW

With the Queensland border set to close to most southerners by the end of the week, bordering coastal hotspots are hoping to cash in on holiday-makers seeking a sunny seaside alternative.

Locations such as Byron Bay – which is already bursting at the seams with Sydneysiders – along with Australia’s ‘best beach’ at Cabarita are set to become major drawcards for NSW holiday-makers no longer able to cross the border into Queensland.

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Byron Bay is set to reap the rewards with NSW residents no longer able to enter Queensland from this weekend.Source:istock

A poolside escape soaking up the balmy Byron Bay weather doesn’t sound so bad?Source:Supplied

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From Saturday, August 8, millions of residents from around NSW will join Sydneysiders and Victorians in being banned from entering the state.

The decision comes as the state recorded another day of no new coronavirus cases, but NSW and Victoria continues to show a number of community transmission outbreaks.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Wednesday that the decision to close the border with the whole of NSW was made after a growing number of community transmission clusters were recorded in NSW over the past 24 hours.

Speaking to media, Ms Palaszczuk said NSW was now a “concerning situation” and shutting up shop to southern states was a move to protect Queenslanders.

“In NSW, we are continuing to see cases each day and that is of great concern to Queensland,” she said.

“This (shutting the border) is the right thing to do. I know it’s going to be tough on Queenslanders but your health comes first.”

NSW visitors spent more than $23 million in 2019 alone on holidays in Queensland.Source:Supplied

In 2019, NSW tourists in Queensland spent around $23.6 million compared with Victoria, whose visitors splashed out a total of $16.9 million in total in the Sunshine State.

After reopening Queensland’s state borders to everyone outside of Victoria on July 10, tourism operators were desperate to claw back at the $5 billion lost in the past quarter due to COVID-19.

But now that the option of holidaying around the Sunshine State stays off the cards, bordering regions are poised to cash in.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Destination Byron president David Jones said northern NSW will likely be a “huge recipient of all those displaced travellers” who can no longer venture into Queensland.

“Over the past week-and-a-half we’ve seen a tremendous volume of enquiries come through,” he said.

“It will be disastrous for the visitor economy in Queensland. For them to miss the July school holidays and potentially the September-October school holidays will really hurt them.”

Deloitte tourism industry analyst Adele Labine-Romain agreed, noting the new border closure to NSW could be a “big opportunity for places along the North Coast.”

“If you are a destination in the northern parts of NSW right now you’re actually happy that the Queensland border is shut,” she said.

Northern NSW locations like Cabarita Beach will be a popular alternative for Sydneysiders no longer able to holiday in Queensland.Source:Supplied

Speaking to the Courier Mail, Tweed Tourism Company general manager Bradley Nardi said he hoped a ‘buffer zone’ between the Tweed region and the Gold Coast could also exist, to allow communities the option of travelling across the border.

Some exemptions will be allowed for those living either side of the border, such as for employment or health reasons, but it will not be extended to those simply wishing to visit their favourite beach on the other side of the border.

“We are not against the Premier’s decision,” Mr Nardi said.

“But if businesses are going to lose more than half of their potential customers, it makes it very tough.

“Having a bubble or zone where locals can move freely across the state borders would be a logical response.”

NSW holiday-makers will need to find an alternate option to places like the Gold Coast. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

Dr David Beirman, a tourism lecturer from Sydney’s University of Technology, previously told that closing the border to Sydney – let alone the entire state of NSW – will result in a further blow to Queensland’s tourism industry.

“(This border closure) is likely to inflict collateral damage on Queensland’s tourism industry which is desperately trying to get back off its knees,” he said.

“I think it’s one thing to ‘close the gates’ to Victorians considering their daily case rates have spiked and now number in the hundreds. But it’s altogether another thing to ‘close the gates’ to people from Greater Sydney on the basis of 10-20 cases per day (most of which come from identified pockets).

“I would support the concept of Queensland screening Sydney visitors on the basis of hotspots.”

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