Ominous picture for future of local business community

Within 24 hours of distributing our Business Impact Survey to ascertain the financial impacts of Townsville’s 3-day lockdown, over 130 businesses responded reporting a collective revenue loss of approximately $4.49 million. Of those businesses, 80% have seen future bookings also impacted.

The responses represent approximately 20% of the Townsville North Queensland tourism, hospitality, and accommodation sector and paint an ominous picture of the future of our region’s visitor economy. However, pressures could be eased for businesses now and long term with a form of financial assistance which we are strongly advocating for.

Data collated from the survey is being directly fed to governments and we stand ready to work with all levels of government to deliver an effective recovery campaign. This aims to ensure businesses have the support they need to remain operational and profitable long after this lockdown and for our region to still be considered an ideal holiday destination.

We have seen other destinations that have struggled with lockdowns take up to three months to see pre-lockdown booking patterns return. Right now we are in our peak holiday season - we cannot wait three months to get this industry thriving again.

If the lockdown is eased tomorrow night, the devil will be in the detail and what we’re hearing from you, our business community, is that you need to understand what operating conditions and restrictions will be in place sooner rather than later. Our focus is firmly on business assistance and industry recovery measures to not only get your business through this lockdown but support your long term recovery.

KEY FIGURES FROM BUSINESS IMPACT SURVEY

From the CEO.... 

“Now that the shock of the lockdown has sunk in on businesses, the financial pressures, booking cancellations, and concerns for recovery are coming through thick and fast."

“We respect and understand the decision for this lockdown, but the damage to local businesses, particular the tourism industry, has been done.

“Prior to lockdown, we were looking at over 70% occupancy across the city during this period and more than 90% over the long weekend, but now our busy events and school holidays season is in a holding pattern. Occupancy has dropped to approximately 40% and is only being supported by visitors who cannot return home.

“This is not a blame game, this is about getting action and support for businesses and keeping their doors open. While the priority is containment, testing and vaccinations, simultaneously businesses need certainty and support for their future.

“Businesses need to see a targeted financial support package to not only recover from this lockdown but be able to handle possible impacts from an inevitable brand risk looming for our region. We need tourism brand and industry recovery support now and going forward and we will work with all levels of government to deliver this for our business community."

Claudia Brumme-Smith
Chief Executive Officer
Townsville Enterprise

 COVID-19 UPDATE | THURSDAY 1 July (10:15AM)

  • Two new cases of close contacts recorded in Queensland linked to two Brisbane clusters.
  • A third COVID testing drive through is now open in Townsville at the Townsville Stadium at the Murray Sports Precinct. It will provide an additional 3 lanes of drive through COVID testing for the city 8am to 4pm Thursday 1 July & Friday 2 July. This site, coupled with the QML COVID testing facility at James Cook University essentially doubles the city’s COVID testing capability.
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