Rural centres feel the pain as grey nomads stay away

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Stockman's Hall of Fame closed due to cononavirusi
Stockman's Hall of Fame ... closed for the 'foreseeable future'.

As travel restrictions increase, and grey nomads either dash home or find a place to ‘hole up’ for a while as the coronavirus crisis plays out, regional centres are obviously feeling the economic pain.

Outback Queensland Tourism Association chairman Andrew Martin told Queensland Country Life that the outlook for tourism operators and services was ‘not good’.

“A lot of our members are travelling uncharted waters, closing the gate and preparing to ride this out,” Cr Martin, also the Blackall-Tambo Regional Council mayor, said.

The lockdown comes as Outback tourism was preparing for its peak season.

Keith and Julie Bauer operate a motel and restaurant in the remote Queensland town of St George. They told Queensland Country Life they were absolutely in ‘dire straits’.

“We’d got through the drought then all the rain and the river being full, and were just getting going again,” Mr Bauer told Queensland Country Life. “There have been lots of ups and downs economy-wise but this is tenfold on anything we’ve experienced … this is by far the worst time we’ve experienced,”

Among the attractions closing further north are iconic visitor destinations such as the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and the Qantas Founders Outback Museum at Longreach, the Australian Age of Dinosaurs at Winton, and the historic Woolscour at Blackall.

Events such as of those commemorating Qantas’s 100th birthday at the Founders Museum, including the airpark roof launch and the Red and White gala have been postponed to new dates yet to be confirmed.

Cr Martin told Queensland Country Life that the message he wanted to share was for operators to consider postponing events rather than cancelling them if they could, saying there would be an ‘absolute bonanza on the other side of this, when everyone would have cabin fever’.

“We are getting a handle on the financial packages available and passing that on,” he said. “There’s a lot we can do to keep them as ready to operate as they can when this blows over. “And our phones are red hot, talking to our membership group by group, to the minister three times a week, and to Tourism Events Queensland daily.”

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6 Responses to Rural centres feel the pain as grey nomads stay away

  1. With grey nomads staying away or not allowed to travel businesses and towns might now just realise how much money the travelling community actually put into these areas.

    • Yes, I agree with Robyn. Was so looking forward to supporting our towns & communities, particularly because of the tough times they have gone through. We will be back however. Meantime, we need to respect our rural communities & of course their welfare.

      • We have had to put our plans on hold and can’t wait to get back out there and support the little towns

  2. What do you do. We have had two parks, where we have booked in for Easter and June, pretty much telling us were welcome but understand if we don’t turn up. One we have already paid for. Oh we have an ensuite ans clean it regularly. They want us there but everyone has been warned stay home. That’s easy for us, we have a home and not retired. The one in June, i think we should cancel. Hate to think people start taking it out on us.

  3. Such a disappointment to bge landlocked but so be it , hate to think I had passed on a virus. was a planned trip organised to travel the burnout ares in the East to support the regions, all on hold to do the right thing and will save more money to spend when we can finally get back out on the road again.
    Take care good people be safe.

  4. Such a disappointment to be landlocked but so be it , hate to think I had passed on a virus. was a planned trip organised to travel the burnout ares in the East to support the regions, all on hold to do the right thing and will save more money to spend when we can finally get back out on the road again.
    Take care good people be safe.

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