Destination Wrap: Queensland’s $50m tourism boost, Spain and Greece to welcome back international travellers + MORE

There are plenty of good signs for the tourism industry judging by this week’s Destination Wrap. Here’s Travel Weekly’s roundup of what’s been happening domestically and internationally.

Palaszczuk government to direct $50m toward Queensland tourism

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced the first stage of the state’s economic reset, The Queensland Economic Recovery Strategy: Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs, to help the state recover from COVID-19 with a focus on backing Queensland jobs.

Under the support plan, $50 million will be directed to Queensland’s tourism infrastructure along with  $7 million towards a domestic tourism campaign.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Queensland government has invested $6 billion in initiatives to manage the health response, support local businesses and families, and protect local jobs.

The news comes amid calls by North Queensland tourism organisations for the establishment of a regional travel bubble between Cairns, Townsville, the Whitsundays, Mackay and outback regions by 12 June, when the state’s stage two COVID-19 restrictions begin.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ), Townsville Enterprise, Mackay Tourism, Tourism Whitsundays and the Outback Queensland Tourism Association are urging the state government to lift the 250-kilometre restriction on recreational travel within North Queensland.

In addition, James Cook University (JCU) Professor in Medicine John McBride, who is based at the Cairns Clinical School, said JCU academics were keen to work with the tourism industry in North Queensland to develop guidelines to ensure the safe reopening of the businesses.

It comes amid calls by the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) for Queensland’s borders to open in July, following the Premier’s message that the state’s borders could remain closed until September.

SA cafés and restaurants welcome eased restrictions

In great news for South Australia’s local travel industry, cafes and restaurants from Friday were permitted to seat up to 20 patrons (10 inside and 10 outside) as well as sell alcohol to diners.

In addition, step two of eased of restrictions has been brought forward to Friday, 5 June so that hoteliers across the state can get an economic boost from the long weekend.

Premier Steven Marshall attributed the decision to South Australians’ ongoing success in helping limit the spread of COVID-19, with just one new case recorded in SA in the last 28 days.

It comes as the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) announced a partnership with Phil Hoffman Travel Group to promote and actively sell South Australia to South Australians.

As part of this partnership, Phil Hoffmann Travel Group on Saturday launched a welcome back to South Australia TVC.

UK to introduce mandatory 14-day quarantine for all international travellers

Over the weekend, ABC News reported the British Government has announced a mandatory 14-day coronavirus quarantine for all incoming travellers from overseas, which will take effect on 8 June.

Under the rules, announced by British Home Secretary Priti Patel, all international arrivals, including British citizens, will be required to self-isolate and provide details of where they will be staying.

“Now we are past the peak of this virus, we must take steps to guard against imported cases triggering a resurgence of this deadly disease,” Patel said during the Downing Street daily press conference, as reported by ABC News.

Airline bosses said the measures would have severe repercussions, with Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary saying they would be “unenforceable and unpoliceable” and would be ignored.

“Introducing a quarantine at this stage makes no sense and will mean very limited international aviation at best,” Tim Alderslade, chief executive of industry body Airlines UK, said.

“It is just about the worst thing [the] government could do if their aim is to restart the economy.”

Spain to reopen to overseas tourists from July

Credit: iStock/KavalenkavaVolha

Spain will reopen to overseas tourists from July, after Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez pledged the government would guarantee the safety of visitors and locals as the country emerges from one of Europe’s strictest coronavirus lockdowns, as reported by The Guardian.

Sánchez also said a €3 billion ($5 billion) minimum basic income scheme to help families most affected by the pandemic would come into effect in the next few weeks.

The prime minister was speaking after a “car demo” organised by the far-right Vox party brought thousands of people out to protest on Saturday over the government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis, according to The Guardian.

Greece to reopen to tourists from 15 June, with direct flights from July

Greece has announced that holidaymakers will be able to return to its beaches within weeks.

Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said 15 June was the official start date of a tourist season delayed by the global COVID-19 pandemic and that direct international flights to the country’s tourist destinations would resume gradually from 1 July, as reported by The Guardian.

Holidaymakers from the United Kingdom and other countries would not be quarantined but would have to undergo COVID-19 testing, Mitsotakis said, in an attempt to allay fears of the virus being brought in from abroad.

US and Canada agree to keep border partly closed for another 30 days

Credit: iStock/RiverNorthPhotography

The United States and Canada have extended an order closing their shared border to nonessential traffic. According to NPR, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision Tuesday, prolonging for a second time an agreement initially reached in March.

The move delays the border’s reopening by another 30 days to 21 June. The prime minister also made clear that another delay after that may well be in the cards.

“As we’ve seen, the decisions that we’re taking are very much made week-to-week in this crisis,” Trudeau said during a news conference outside the prime minister’s residence in Ottawa, as reported by NPR.

“The situation is changing rapidly, and we’re adjusting constantly to get that balance right, between keeping people safe and restoring a semblance of normality and economic activity that we all rely on.

“We’re gonna keep making those decisions as time goes on.”

It comes amid the news that Destination Canada has re-launched its Canada Specialist Program webinar series, beginning with an update from the in-market Canada team on Wednesday 27 May.

To register, click here.

You’re invited to Maldives Tourism’s Facebook live event

On Monday 8 June, Maldives Tourism will be holding a Facebook live event to showcase the region for post-COVID-19 travel.

Maldives Tourism is seeking participation from Australian tour operators and travel agents who specialise in selling the Maldives.

To participate, the tourism body is calling for agents to submit a 30- to 60-second pre-recorded video about why their clients love the Maldives and why it is a big focus for their team.

This will then be featured during the livestream and broadcast to its followers.

To watch the Facebook global event live, tune into Visit Maldives’ Facebook page at 1am (AEST) on Monday 8 June.

The event will be recorded and available to re-watch via the Facebook page after the event concludes.

Enjoy an aquarium to yourself at SEA LIFE Sydney

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is making the most of New South Wales’ social distancing restrictions by giving travellers the chance to enjoy a private dinner for 10 in its stunning Great Barrier Reef exhibit.

While the aquarium’s traditional private dining experience allows for several groups to dine in various private areas of the aquarium at once, for a very limited amount of time the private dining package is completely private.

The package also includes exclusive access to the aquarium for groups as well as a three-course dinner (set menu) and a two-hour premium drinks package.

For more information, click here.

Thredbo records fresh snow

On Friday, Thredbo staff awoke to fresh snow, with temperatures continuing to hang in the negatives.

It comes as the ski town continues to prepare for the upcoming ski season, off the back of good news that NSW will lift restrictions on intrastate travel.

Speaking to the announcement last week, the Deputy Premier, John Barilaro, said he was working with towns in the Snowy Mountains and expected there would still be a ski season in NSW this year.

Japan update: Gifu wants adventure travellers to get inspired

Home to the Japanese Alps, Gifu is ideal for embracing the great outdoors. Abundant in nature, the destination is a playground for explorers to find their free spirit and wander away from the crowds.

The second video in a new series of five, this one-minute clip invites travellers to be inspired by the prefecture’s wide-open spaces and adventure opportunities that await them, upon the return to travel.

Featured image: iStock/budgetstockphoto


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