North Queensland Economy on the Path to Recovery

Townsville Enterprise in partnership with AEC and James Cook University has this week released the Townsville North Queensland Economic Snapshot for November. The report provides an overview of the latest statistical data and an economic outlook for the Townsville North Queensland region.

Key statistical highlights within this report include:

  • Between the period of March 2020 to June 2020, an increase in employment numbers across the
    region;
  • Vacancy rates in the region are tightening and suggesting an undersupply or housing.
  • The rental vacancy rate for June quarter was 1.7%;
  • Beef cattle prices continued to rise throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, reaching its highest pointover the three years analysed;
  • The reopening of business and hospitality venues have softened the immediate impact of the pandemic in the region, resulting in the September 2020 quarter’s confidence index moving upwards
    by two index points; and,
  • Accommodation has shown strong signs of recovery with recent growth in occupancy and RevPar.

Townsville Enterprise Director of Regional Development and Investment Wayde Chiesa says this latest quarterly report demonstrates that Townsville North Queensland’s economy is on the path to recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Townsville North Queensland is currently showing strong signs of recovery post COVID-19; business confidence is on the rise, employment numbers are strong and residential vacancy rates are the lowest they have been since immediately after the 2019 floods,” Mr Chiesa said.

“This data demonstrates something we’ve always known - that our region’s greatest strength is in our diversified economy. The regions connection to Agriculture and the North West Minerals province is enabling us to expedite economic recovery and shelters the region with a level of economic resilience.”

The tourism, hospitality and events industry have had a challenging year due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The real impacts on this sector are demonstrated throughout the report, but the signs of recovery are extremely encouraging.

“Throughout the June 2019 to June 2020, total visitation in the region declined by approximately 25%, the largest drop across the five-year period. This decline can be attributed to the impacts of COVID-19 and travel restrictions,” Mr Cheisa said.

“With borders reopening this week and restrictions easing, the tourism industry is beginning to reap the benefits of the pent-up demand for travel. Some of our tourism businesses are anticipating record breaking summer bookings.”

James Cook University Head of Economics and Marketing Dr Riccardo Welters suggests that the region’s performance in managing COVID-19 has well placed the destination for recovery.

“The COVID pandemic has not only shaken up our health and social structures, it has also shaken up our economy. The IMF predict global GDP will contract by 4.4% in 2020, but at the same time predicts 5.2% growth in 2021. All these figures are best-guesses, as they largely depend on how the pandemic evolves in the New Year,” Dr Welters said.

“That said, the North Queensland regional economy is well placed, given the relatively early easing of restrictions. First indications are that the region has turned the corner.”

“The region’s solid COVID health record makes it an attractive place of residence so the housing market is tightening, and the labour market performance in the region is encouraging.”

Click here to download the Townsville North Queensland Economic Snapshot report

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