Central Highlands businesses are looking forward to further travel restriction eases. Photo: file
Central Highlands businesses are looking forward to further travel restriction eases. Photo: file

Regions’ businesses relying on intrastate travel

CONTINUED business across the region has brought a strong season for an Emerald caravan park, that usually relies on interstate travel.

Emerald Tourist Park accommodation has been sitting at about 90 per cent capacity over the last few weeks.

“It has been pretty strong and it’s growing,” owner Josh Dillon said.

The park has been full of workers from a range of industries including mining, construction and agriculture.

“We’re pretty grateful because a lot of coastal parks and inland parks aren’t doing as well,” Mr Dillon said.

While coronavirus has stinted what would usually be the start of ‘grey nomad’ season, the missed business has been made up through the other trades, he said.

“Winter season is most parks’ bread and butter,” Mr Dillon said.

“It’s definitely going to knock us around, it’s money we’ll never see again.

“But if everyone does the right thing, next year we will have a season and it’ll probably be bigger than ever.”

Earlier this month Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk released Queensland’s Road map to Easing COVID-19 restrictions

Queenslanders will have the chance to travel, camp and stay at accommodation and caravan parks within 250km as part of stage 2 on June 12.

Mr Dillon believes intrastate travel will give Central Queensland businesses the boost they’ve been waiting for.

“When Queensland restrictions get lifted I believe there are enough caravans here to have a mini season with people itching to get away,” he said.

On July 10, stage 3 is expected to have state borders reopening and further eases to intrastate travel.

While he’s excited to see borders open, Mr Dillon said there was “no mad rush” on interstate travel, but intrastate allowances would make the immediate difference.

“I’m definitely looking forward to that,” Mr Dillon said. “I think our July, August, September, October could be bigger than it has ever been.”

“International travel is on hold, so people will be opting to do an Aussie trip in their caravans, which will hopefully bring lots of people out west.”

Although Emerald Chamber of Commerce president Victor Cominos says the sooner the state borders open, the better, with Queensland travellers not enough to support the region.

“In the past we’ve had a lot of tourists come through here,” he said.

“Grey nomads parked in the river bank and people coming through out to the Gemfields.

“Unless we have people coming from the south over the border in Queensland, that won’t happen.

“Over the years I’ve been observing and it’s interesting to see how many number plates come from the southern states, relying on Queensland is not enough.

“We definitely need the grey nomads.”