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UNITED: Flight Centre, Helloworld, Qantas and Virgin Urge Queensland Reopening

In response to the Queensland Government refusing to put a timeline on reopening its state borders outside of "maybe in December", some of the biggest names in travel are upping the ante to plead for the border to open as soon and as safely as possible.

In response to the Queensland Government refusing to put a timeline on reopening its state borders outside of “maybe in December”, some of the biggest names in travel are upping the ante to plead for the border to open as soon and as safely as possible.

Seven months into the utter devastation of the travel industry due to the pandemic, with thousands of jobs and billions of dollars lost, Australia’s largest airlines and travel companies have joined forces to plead for state borders to open sooner rather than later.

Flight Centre and Helloworld Travel have teamed up with airlines Qantas and Virgin to press state politicians to act in order to save their businesses from financial ruin.

In October, the four travel giants will run a combined four-week advertising campaign to coincide with Queensland’s state elections, scheduled for Saturday, October 31.

According to Nine, it’s estimated that as many as 532,000 travel industry jobs and up to $21.3 billion in wages and salaries have been lost across the country since the impact of the pandemic began back in March.

Australia’s inbound tourism industry is also estimated to be losing up to $10 billion every month during the pandemic, made up of $6 billion in domestic tourism and $4 billion in foreign visitors.

Speaking to Nine, Helloworld Travel CEO Andrew Burnes said Australia would be facing 20 per cent unemployment in March if nothing was done, and he couldn’t see why low-case states Western Australia, Tasmania, South Australia, the ACT and Queensland didn’t at least have their borders open to each other.

AndrewBurnes
Andrew Burnes, Helloworld Travel CEO

‘There seem to be exceptions if you are a Hollywood movie star and there seem to be exceptions if you’ve got anything to do with the AFL but if you’ve got deeply personal reasons for legitimately wanting to cross the border it seems those requests have met a brick wall,’ he said.

The combined campaign follows Qantas and Jetstar’s ‘Save the travel industry’ campaign launched last week which urged the company’s 20,000 employees and the wider travel industry to sign a petition lobbying state and territory governments to reopen their borders safely.

READ: Save The Travel Industry: Qantas And Jestar Petitions for Borders To Reopen

Speaking on ABC Breakfast on Monday, Flight Centre founder and GM Graham ‘Skroo’ Turner said it was meaningless to talk about business survival and recovery without open borders and free trade between states.

“Travel, tourism, airlines, airports are the worst affected but the whole of Queensland is in a recession,” He said.

“The basic thing is you can’t have an economic recovery plan that both parties are promoting without open borders. That’s what caused the recession in the first place.

“One thing we know is we have to live with this virus; it will be with us for some years.”

Graham ‘Skroo’ Turner, GM Flight Centre Travel Group

The joint campaign will coincide with the Queensland Government’s own campaign, ‘Make Queensland Great’ which will encourage people to shop locally, with the same aim to support local business and economic growth.