Local accommodation sector desperate for borders to reopen


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Mick and Sue, Managers of Nautilus Holiday Apartments have felt the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions. Image: Karlie Brady.

The opening of the Queensland borders is top of mind of hotels and resorts managers and owners as they look at their forward booking occupancies for the period August-December which they hope will significantly improve.

And Steve Molnar, General Manager of the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Port Douglas said lifting the border restrictions is key.

“People are planning ahead for when this happens. There are a number of initiatives such as campaigns and packages which are currently underway as well.

“Our hope is to pick up business in the middle of July and have a strong September and October. But we know we cannot expect to see the large numbers we’ve experienced during the school holidays,” he said.

A spokesperson for Club Tropical said they do have strong forward bookings for August to December, although they obviously all have a codicil relating to borders.

“If they are not open, the reservation will be cancelled with full refund. We predict if the borders do open, we will have around three quarters of the occupancy expected for the quarter.

“However, revenue will not be commensurate as some reservations from the Covid-19 closure period have been accommodated at the original shoulder season rates as a gesture of goodwill to our guests, despite August being a peak month,” said the spokesperson.

Other resorts associated with Club Tropical are Hibiscus Resort and Spa, Beaches and Beach Front Terraces.

Mick Whalen, Manager of Nautilus Holiday Apartments, said he has felt the impact from Covid-19 and qualified this by revealing that from February to June, he had just 25 nights of holiday lets. And timing was not on his side as Covid-19 kicked in.

“My next booking is for 3 July, for three nights. July looks like it will be less than 10 percent compared to last year’s 95 per cent.

‘I am happy to say that some people, who did cancel, have re-booked. Some of this is also repeat business,” he said without having to reiterate the importance of lifting the border restrictions.


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