Byron Bay will be one of the hardest hit areas by coronavirus

Holiday favourites like Byron Bay will thrive once the coronavirus lockdown is lifted, experts predict – with travel likely to be restricted to within Australia until at least 2021

  • Destinations such as the northern NSW beach town will be the worst affected
  • But Byron Bay face record tourist levels and replace international destinations
  • Australians could be blocked from going abroad until at least January 
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

Holiday hotspot Byron Bay could face record levels of tourism once coronavirus lockdowns are lifted as tourists are limited to domestic destinations, researchers say.

Small businesses in tourist destinations such as the northern NSW beach town will be the worst affected by stage-three lockdowns, as holiday-makers are barred from leaving their homes. 

But regional development researcher Professor Andrew Beer from the University of South Australia told Daily Mail Australia the struggle will most likely only be temporary.

While there will be a few small business casualties that don’t make it through the economic downturn, projections suggest most will come back better than ever.

people laying on the sand at a beach at Byron Bay before coronavirus lockdowns were enforced

people laying on the sand at a beach at Byron Bay before coronavirus lockdowns were enforced

The same beach amid coronavirus lockdowns. Experts say the beach town could see record levels of tourism later this year

The same beach amid coronavirus lockdowns. Experts say the beach town could see record levels of tourism later this year

‘In the long term, the impact will be negligible. Byron Bay will continue to grow and prosper.’ 

The small town could face record tourist levels and replace international destinations such as Bali and parts of South East Asia amid claims that Australians could be blocked from going abroad until at least January 2021.

Holidaymakers should avoid booking any international travel during the coronavirus crisis, warned Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham.

‘I wouldn’t put any guarantees that you could undertake that overseas trip in December,’ he told ABC’s News Breakfast on Tuesday.

‘This is a time where, unfortunately, people can’t undertake holidays and they won’t be able to go overseas for quite some time to come.’

With travel restrictions between states likely to ease in the coming months, people are instead being asked to start ‘dreaming’ about their perfect Australian getaway.

‘Within two months of the ban being lifted, and assuming international travel won’t be possible for the remainder of this year, Byron is likely to be booming once again,’ Professor Beer told Daily Mail Australia.

He also added the strong the strong community and coveted coastlines will likely ensure the town continues to thrive as it has done for the past decade. 

Other towns that could successfully move past economic hardships as a result of the global pandemic include Airlie Beach and Mount Isa Queensland.

People used to flock to the famous lighthouse at Byron Bay before COVID-19 hit Australia

People used to flock to the famous lighthouse at Byron Bay before COVID-19 hit Australia

One person can be seen at the lighthouse after the federal government urged people to stay home amid the global pandemic

One person can be seen at the lighthouse after the federal government urged people to stay home amid the global pandemic

Towns most likely to struggle include Cairns and Gladstone in Queensland, and the bushfire-ravaged Gippsland region in Victoria. 

It comes just weeks after it was announced that the much-loved Bluesfest Byron Bay was cancelled due to the pandemic.

The event was due to take place over the Easter long-weekend.

It’s the first time in 30 years the popular festival has been called off. 

The iconic Blues & Roots music festival (pictured in 2019) brings more than 100,000 fans to the tourist hotspot each year

The iconic Blues & Roots music festival (pictured in 2019) brings more than 100,000 fans to the tourist hotspot each year

Devastated organisers were forced to pull the plug after the NSW government enforced a federal directive to cancel mass public gatherings of 500 people or more. 

The iconic Blues & Roots music festival brings more than 100,000 fans to the tourist hotspot each year. 

Among the headline acts due to perform April 9-12 were international acts Alanis Morissette, Lenny Kravitz, Dave Matthews Band and Kool & the Gang. 

WHICH TOURIST TOWNS WILL STRUGGLE AFTER CORONAVIRUS?

 Most likely to struggle:

Cairns, Qld

Chinchilla, Qld

Gladstone, Qld

Karratha, WA

Lakes Entrance, Vic

Roma, Qld 

Sale, Vic

Tannum Sands-Boyne Island, Qld

 Least likely to struggle:

 Byron Bay, NSW

Airlie Beach, Qld 

Biloela, Qld

Emerald, Qld

Forbes, NSW

Grafton, NSW

Griffith, NSW

Kyabram, Vic

Leeton, NSW

Mount Isa, Qld

Naracoorte, SA

Port Hedland, WA

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