No travel bubble talks until chief health officer gives the nod
NEW state Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe will not say whether Queensland can look forward to any travel bubble with New Zealand, and has handballed the call to the Chief Health Officer.
However, Mr Hinchliffe, who has replaced former minister Kate Jones, told the Bulletin that Tourism and Events Queensland was working hard to keep the state "top of mind" for future international travel.
His comments came after Destination Gold Coast chairman Paul Donovan spoke of the importance of the return of NZ tourists to help the city's tourism sector recover.
NZ had narrowly overtaken China as the top international market for the Coast before the global COVID-19 pandemic hit.
The Bulletin asked Mr Hinchliffe whether he was advocating for a Queensland-NZ travel bubble, considering enviable results suppressing the coronavirus.
NSW, the Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria have opened borders to let New Zealanders in without quarantining, but NZ has not reciprocated.
Mr Hinchliffe said: "We look forward to welcoming visitors from New Zealand, however the Palaszczuk government will continue to listen to the expert medical advice of the Chief Health Officer (Jeannette Young) to keep Queenslanders safe.
"Tourism and Events Queensland has remained connected with key travel partners including airlines and agents to make sure Queensland is top of mind as a destination once COVID-safe international tourism travel becomes possible."
Mr Hinchliffe said Queensland was reporting more interstate bookings and reopening the border to SA would likely provide a boost.
On Tuesday, Queensland had 21 active cases, but no recorded community transmission for more than 80 days.
NZ had 54 active cases but marked 20 days without community transmission.
Originally published as No travel bubble talks until chief health officer gives the nod