The reopening of Queensland to NSW and Victoria has sparked the biggest surge in holiday bookings for more than a year as southerners rush to lock in Sunshine State summer breaks.

Less than 24 hours after the decision to allow Greater Sydney back into Queensland from December 1, travel websites and airlines are reporting their busiest period since last summer.

The announcement on Wednesday morning that Victoria will follow suit has added to the gold rush which is expected to pump more than $600 million into the Queensland economy next month alone.

A booking frenzy should pump $600 million into the Queensland economy next month alone.
A booking frenzy should pump $600 million into the Queensland economy next month alone.

Queensland had experienced a 200 per cent increase in flight bookings via Flight Centre and a 250 per cent increase in booking inquiries via Ignite Travel by the close of business Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Tuesday was the biggest single day of flight sales for Virgin this year with more than 60 per cent of Queensland bookings for the period leading up to Christmas.

Traffic on the Virgin website in the hours following the reopening of southern was the highest in more than 12 months, with Brisbane and the Gold Coast the most searched destinations from Victorian and NSW customers.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the rush for holiday bookings would be a welcome shot in the arm for the state's tourism sector which has bled billions of dollars since the first travel bans were introduced at the start of the year.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the rush for holiday bookings would be a welcome shot in the arm for the state’s tourism sector. Pic: Peter Wallis
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the rush for holiday bookings would be a welcome shot in the arm for the state’s tourism sector. Pic: Peter Wallis

"Tourism is vital to Queensland's economy and supports thousands of local jobs. I know tourism operators across the state have done it particularly tough this year.

"It's great to see that already, this announcement is starting to pay off for tourism operators."

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said since the coronavirus pandemic, the Palaszczuk Government had invested more than half-a-billion-dollars to support struggling tourism businesses throughout the state.

"This is great news for our tourism industry," he said.

"We've done everything we can to support operators through this tough time. Reopening our borders takes it to another level.

"We know that thousands of Australians in our southern states have been itching for a holiday.

"The countdown has begun. Come to Queensland where life is beautiful one day and perfect the next."

The Queensland Premier has announced changes to the border restrictions and says that no more police will be needed to patrol the state's borders with New South Wales. Picture: Jerad Williams
The Queensland Premier has announced changes to the border restrictions and says that no more police will be needed to patrol the state's borders with New South Wales. Picture: Jerad Williams

Wotif Managing Director Daniel Finch said in just a few short hour following the announcement that the Queensland border will open to Greater Sydney from 1 December 2020, Wotif.com has seen Queensland travel interest from NSW travellers spike by over 140* per cent when compared to the previous week.

Within hours of the decision on Victorian travel, Virgin announced the

addition of 38,000 seats between Victoria and Queensland by Christmas.

The airline will resume Melbourne flights to the Gold and Sunshine

coasts on November 30 with flights to Cairns to resume a fortnight

later.

Crowds will soon return to the Gold Coast. Pictured: Easter beach crowds at Miami / Glenn Hampson.
Crowds will soon return to the Gold Coast. Pictured: Easter beach crowds at Miami / Glenn Hampson.

Flight from Melbourne to the Gold Coast will increase from three times a week to twice a day by Christmas, with the Sunshine Coast and Cairns routes to feature daily services by Christmas.

Brisbane will increase from twice a day to five times a day.

 

Originally published as Booking frenzy! Border opening unleashes $600m holiday rush