More than 11,000 visitors have arrived in Tasmania since border restrictions were eased on October 26, but some travellers who came from South Australia have had to swap holiday plans for isolation because of the latest coronavirus outbreak.
- Hotels are reporting an increase in bookings from interstate travellers
- Four travellers who flew via Adelaide were forced to abandon their bushwalking plans and are isolating
- Quarantine rules for Victorian travellers are expected to ease later this month
Hotel operators are expecting a busier period in December and January, but have already been welcoming interstate guests, mostly from New South Wales and Queensland.
Kate Murray, co-owner of Launceston hotel, The Florance, said the number of bookings was continuing to increase.
“The bookings after Christmas are pretty good; we have nights of a full house already,” she said.
According to State Control Centre figures, 11,014 non-Tasmanian residents have arrived in the island state from COVID-19 low risk areas.
A further 211 non-Tasmanian residents have arrived from other areas.
The figures do not include those who are classified as essential workers.
Ben Targett is the chief executive of two hotels in Hobart — Hadley’s Orient Hotel and the Old Woolstore.
He said while intrastate business travel has kept the Woolstore ticking over, Hadley’s, which appeals more to the leisure travel market, had been “on bread and water” until the border restrictions started to ease.
Now, the situation is changing.
“It would be true to say that interest in staying with us from December onwards is quite strong,” Mr Targett said.
He said it seemed that most of the people travelling to Tasmania before Christmas were visiting friends and family, or were taking the first opportunity to get away.
Swapping wilderness for a hotel room
Not everyone coming to Tasmania for a change of scenery is getting quite what they hoped for.
Chris Raleigh and three travel companions were about to start walking the Three Capes Track on the Tasman Peninsula on Monday when their holiday plans were interrupted.
Mr Raleigh got a message telling him that anyone who had been in South Australia recently should go into isolation.
So he and three others in his group swapped the spectacular coastal track for two rooms at the Hobart Airport Travelodge Hotel and a daily walk around a fenced off area in the hotel carpark.
“It would be great to leave the hotel room, although I’m trying to keep a positive mindset,” he said.
Mr Raleigh and his group travelled from Brisbane to Tasmania, with an overnight stop in Adelaide on the way.
Anyone who has arrived in Tasmania from South Australia since November 7 is required to self-isolate until they have been in the state for 14 days.
People who have arrived from South Australia since November 7 can, however, leave Tasmania, provided they are well, wear a mask and have a flight booked.
But Mr Raleigh and his travel companions can not return to Queensland until 14 days after they left South Australia.
“It’s all very complicated but if anything, 2020 has taught us all that you need to be resilient, so I’m just going to chalk this up to 2020 resilience,” he said.
People travelling to Tasmania from Western Australia, Queensland, the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory have not been required to quarantine on arrival since October 26.
South Australia was included in this group, but people coming from that state now need to quarantine for two weeks, either at a suitable residence or a Government-run hotel because of a COVID-19 cluster in Adelaide.
The quarantine requirement was dropped for people coming from New South Wales on November 2.
Border rules requiring people coming from Victoria to quarantine are expected to be dropped from November 27.