Warwick Visitor Information Centre supervisor Charee Aspinall with local visitor Brian McDonagh.
Warwick Visitor Information Centre supervisor Charee Aspinall with local visitor Brian McDonagh. Georja Ryan

Roadworks hurt local tourism

PANIC resonated through the Queensland tourism industry following the floods, with fears visitors would shun the once-popular Sunshine State.

Images of the devastation were plastered across TV screens around the country and it was thought potential tourists could scatter and abandon holiday plans in Queensland.

Twelve months on from the disaster, Warwick Visitor Information Centre supervisor Charee Aspinall said it wasn't the floods but damaged roads that were keeping tourists away.

"The thing that has hurt us is the delays at Cunningham's Gap," Ms Aspinall said.

Over the Christmas period, traffic was temporarily increased from one lane to two, with a dramatic impact on visitor numbers.

"When the Gap was open our numbers were up 40-50% on the numbers from 2009-10," Ms Aspinall said.

Ms Aspinall said visitor numbers had dropped in the period immediately following the floods, but people had now regained confidence and were ready to visit Queensland again.

"People were worried for a long time but I don't think it's stopping them now," she said.

Ms Aspinall had nothing but bright predictions for the Warwick area - pending the completion of work at the Gap.

"I think people are going to come back in droves," she said. "They have missed out on us a bit and will want to come back.

"Once the Gap is complete I think things will be better than they have ever been."


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