The Gold Coast, Australia's prime tourist destination, is grappling with a significant setback as severe storms disrupt its peak tourist season. The region's key attractions, including renowned beaches and major theme parks like Dreamworld and Movie World, have been forced to close. This unexpected weather turmoil has resulted in millions of dollars in losses, crippling the Gold Coast's tourism industry.
Severe Storms Deal Heavy Blow to Gold Coast Tourism
Tour Collective, a local business offering various activities from snorkeling to jet ski lessons, estimates losses of around $200,000 since Christmas Eve. The adverse weather conditions have reduced their vessel capacity by 35%, impacting their operations significantly. Moreton Island, a popular destination, has lost four revenue days due to the ongoing storms.
Zac Revere, vice president of the Southern Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce, warns that the storms will lead to millions of dollars in cancellations. Airbnb bookings are being canceled at an alarming rate as tourists seek alternative destinations, as reported by The Guardian.
In response, the Queensland and federal governments have announced financial support of up to $250,000 for affected businesses and primary producers. Disaster assistance loans are available to support businesses in the Gold Coast region. The Australian defense force will also step in to aid with the cleanup.
The situation is further exacerbated by power outages affecting thousands of residents. The extensive damage to power lines has prompted plans to replace the entire grid rather than repair it. This has led to a surge in demand for generators and forced local businesses, like childcare centers, to close temporarily.
Ironically, the Gold Coast tourism industry had expected a strong start to the year. Emma Clarke, spokesperson for Business Chamber Queensland, highlights the profound financial and emotional impact on affected businesses and their workforce. She encourages people to consider visiting these disaster-affected areas to support their recovery.
Despite the gradual return of power and ongoing cleanup efforts, the financial recovery for the Gold Coast is expected to be prolonged. Heavy rainfall and flooding may persist, with the storm gradually moving north of Brisbane.
Severe Storms Claim Lives in Eastern Australia, Gold Coast
Severe storms and floods in eastern Australia during the Christmas holiday period have resulted in the discovery of at least nine casualties, according to authorities. The affected regions are primarily Queensland and Victoria in the eastern states. While rainfall has subsided, search and rescue efforts are ongoing in flood-stricken areas, and power restoration operations are underway for thousands of customers.
Queensland, notably the Gold Coast area, experienced the extreme weather. The New York Times reported that over a 24-hour span ending Wednesday morning, coastal Queensland received over three inches of rain, leading to at least seven storm-related deaths.
These tragedies include a woman killed by a falling tree on the Gold Coast, three men who perished when a motorboat carrying 11 individuals capsized in Moreton Bay, and the discovery of two women's bodies during a river search north of Brisbane. Additionally, a 9-year-old girl who went missing during flooding in a southern suburb of Brisbane was found deceased.
As of Wednesday, over 60,000 electricity customers in southeastern Queensland remained without power. In the Gold Coast, heavy rain and high winds damaged approximately 1,400 homes, toppled trees, disrupted water supply, and caused power outages.
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