Hotel owner eager for tourists to return

MANY grey nomads have been waiting near the Queensland border eager for their chance to enter the Sunshine State, and now they have that opportunity with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

Roma Central Motel owner Charlie Eames said there has been an increase of traffic through the Maranoa as restrictions have been gradually lifted and is hoping to cash in as travellers stop in at Roma.

“There has been an increase of traffic not just travellers but corporates too,” he said.

“The school holidays are really strong and a lot of the over 50 market, groups of people doing three or four nights coming out west.”

However Mr Eames is concerned about the operations of cafes and retailers in the southwest as tourists may have a harder time supporting these businesses due to restrictions.

“That’s been a trouble and we’ve had some eateries and food places struggling to fit people in because of the numbers.

“You walk into the local reject shop or the supermarket or the hardware store and be served and there’s not the four square metre rule.”

At least the lifting of restrictions is a relief for travellers and residents in outback Queensland who haven’t had the opportunity to do their normal shopping in many months.

“They’re not just buying their necessities and they’re wanting to do some retail therapy which is great,” Mr Eames said.

“It’s a big change of the conversation we’re having with the traveller.”