“The 14 days is here to stay,” said Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at the site of Queensland’s purpose-built quarantine facility in Toowoomba last week. But industry leaders are concerned the move will drive tourists away.
Palaszczuk announced the facility will open in March next year, a time which will hopefully see the country mostly vaccinated and restrictions eased across Australia.
But, when asked if vaccinated international travellers would still have to undergo two weeks of quarantine when borders open, the Queensland premier told media that, “ …hopefully, over months and years we might get to a better position on the international evidence, but at the moment the 14 days will stay”, News Corp reported.
The move has many questioning what travel to the state will look like, Flight Centre boss Graham Turner saying, “Queensland won’t get any tourists and the other states will get them because no doubt they will be open in the next few months”.
Hoping the facility was built for a new variant or future pandemic, Turner said that, “If [the facility] was built for this pandemic, it is going to kill tourism permanently for Queensland and possibly interstate tourism as well”.
According to Palaszczuk, the facility was built to remove the the threat of COVID-19 spreading through hotels used for quarantine.
“Our hotels were not built to be the last line of defence for a global pandemic,” she said.
“We are going to be dealing with Delta for some time. And if we want to open up Australia, regional quarantine facilities are the second part of the answer. The first part is vaccine.”
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