The estimated cost to the economy of the Qantas transport chaos is $250-million a day.
And one of the industries worst-affected, is tourism.
Matt Warren reports.
In the midst of the Qantas dispute, Queensland Minister for Tourism Jan Jarratt has had the unenviable task of promoting Queensland as a travel destination to the Chinese.
The Minister was at Brisbane Airport today welcoming a contingent of Chinese media personalities to promote a new weekly flight from Beijing to Brisbane offered by China Southern Airlines.
The timing couldn’t be worse for selling the Sunshine State on the back of the weekend’s flight cancellations.
However, Ms Jarratt has downplayed the dispute at Qantas.
Jan Jarratt, Queensland Tourism Minister: “Fair Work Australia as you know have brought them back to the table and Qantas will be back in the air by this afternoon. So today, we’re here to celebrate a really positive announcement of China Southern Airlines fourth daily flight to Brisbane.”
International tourism numbers have climbed in recent years.
Research statistics show over 1.9-million overseas visitors arrived in Queensland in the last financial year.
There were over 200,000 from China, making them the third largest tourism market after the U.K. and New Zealand.
Fears are that the latest delays could cause an unwanted hit to the tourism industry.
But Andrew McEvoy from Tourism Australia is concerned for disrupted businesses all over the state that rely on spending from overseas visitors.
Andrew McEvoy, Tourism Australia: “Look, tourism generates about $93-million for the gross domestic product of Australia every day. That’s $240-million spending. I know Qantas were losing $20-million, but the impact across the board, hotels, motels, attractions, cabbies, restaurants is quite significant.”
Stranded tourists could take no satisfaction from moves to get the embattled airline back in the air this afternoon.
Vox 1: “If they’re stopping all national flights you can understand, but international flights people are away from their family, they’re very far away from them and we understand that they’re in a difficult situation but so are we.”
Qantas is continuing to fork out – it’s promising a full refund to customers whose flights were cancelled.
And it’s reimbursing those same passengers for out-of-pocket expenses including meals and phone calls.
But the consumer group Choice, says that’s not enough – It wants Qantas to offer every affected traveller another $800.
Matt Warren, QUT News.
Qantas fires up federal politics
Disgruntled passengers stranded overseas