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Melbourne swarm: Tourist floodgates open as visitors scratch $3.5 billion itch

Business

Tears of joy have been shed at Brisbane airport as family and friends welcomed travellers arriving on the first flight from Victoria since Queensland’s COVID-19 border restrictions were scrapped.

 

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The Palaszczuk government lifted its virus hotspot declarations and travel restrictions for people from Greater Sydney and Victoria early on Tuesday morning.

Thousands of southerners are expected to start flocking to the Sunshine State, with hopes it will lead to a much-needed jobs boom.

“Queensland’s health-led economic recovery is set to really take off … and with that will come more jobs for Queenslanders,” Deputy Premier Steven Miles said.

About 6000 people are booked to fly into Brisbane airport from NSW and Victoria on Tuesday, with numbers expected to soar in the coming days.

Virgin Australia will make more than 100,000 seats available to travellers from the two states before Christmas and the Qantas Group has scheduled 410 flights per week, Miles says.

“Tourism industry sources tell me anecdotally they are already experiencing a significant uplift in activity, with one booking agent reporting a 300 per cent increase in the number of calls,” Miles said.

Tourists are expected to spend $3.5 billion in Queensland in the coming month, which Miles said would lead to more businesses reopening and people finding employment.

Work has started to remove the road checkpoints along the southern border.

Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski asked motorists coming from northern NSW to be patient, particularly in the Gold Coast and Goondiwindi areas.

Police will continue to randomly intercept vehicles crossing the border to check if any travellers from Greater Adelaide are trying to sneak into Queensland.

Travellers from that hotspot will have to wait another week to learn if a welcome mat will be thrown out to them.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said on Monday she needed more time to assess the ongoing Adelaide virus cluster, that has now grown to 33 people.

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