Tourism

NSW & QLD floods “another hit to consumer confidence” says AFTA CEO as booking rebound slows down

The devastating floods occurring across NSW and Queensland this week represent “another hit to consumer confidence”, according to Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) CEO Dean Long.

Countless evacuation orders have been issued along Australia’s east coast over the past few days as rising floodwaters destroy homes and shut down airports.

So far, 12 deaths have been recorded and hundreds of people have been rescued.

“What these events do is make it significantly harder for people to travel,” Long said.

“It’s another hit to consumer confidence that we just don’t need.”

Brisbane Airport flooded over the weekend, forcing it to close its legacy runway and causing delays and cancellations which have been ongoing, according to the BNE’s Twitter.

Both runways appeared to be operational again on Monday, and BNE’s website was showing all flights running on time as of midday on Thursday.

On Monday, Gold Coast Airport was forced to temporarily close and reopened on Tuesday morning with additional flights scheduled to ensure passengers who had their flights cancelled were able to travel.

Ballina airport has also been affected, reporting flight cancellations and delays this morning.

Besides the obvious damage to tourism infrastructure and flight delays, Long said that compounded with the situation in Ukraine, this latest tragedy will have a “flow-on effect” for travel.

“Usually, with events like this, we only see the immediate impact on the affected areas. Now, we see a flow-on effect,” he said.

“We already had record-low consumer confidence, and now there are multiple reasons to postpone travel on top of the pandemic’s ongoing effect.”

According to long, just two weeks ago Australia’s travel industry was seeing a good recovery, with bookings reaching 30 per cent of pre-2019 levels and a significant increase in domestic occupancy.

“Confidence was starting to return, but now it has slowed significantly,” he said.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week has also affected international travel in numerous ways, causing flight delays as airlines change their flight paths to avoid airspace over the country and adding to consumers’ hesitancy to book overseas trips.

The situation is also expected to drive up the price of airline tickets due to Russia’s monopoly on the exportation of natural gas, which is used to power aeroplanes.


Featured image: twitter.com/BrisbaneAirport



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