Bondi Beach is one of the iconic tourist attractions in Australia, particularly in New South Wales. This attraction draws up to 2.6 tourist visits per year. Once the pandemic outbreak hit Australia, it was considered as a hotspot. There were 180 confirmed Covid-19 cases among backpackers and residents in the area. Is its popularity to blame for the outbreak? With the lockdown easing in the country, it is important to look at its state now and get a glimpse of what it can offer, especially for those who are planning to hit the most popular beach in Australia this year.
Bondi Beach After Coronavirus Lockdown Eased
Bondi Beach has always been crowded with tourists. It is part of the appeal of this tourist attraction, which helps to create a buzzing atmosphere that is filled with energy and enthusiasm. But just recently, the once crowded beach became deserted and cordoned off with a police tape in an effort to keep tourists and locals away from the beach. With the coronavirus pandemic forcing people to take shelter, one of the biggest tourism draws in Australia was hard hit.
But a few weeks after the order for lockdown and with easing policies, Bondi and its nearby areas are slowly but surely reopening in phases. Major cities in Australia are also starting to relax their restrictions. This gives hopes to locals who are missing the beach since it could mean that the weekends could look a little different than the past few weeks.
In New South Wales, the easing of social distancing rules and other restrictions are approached on a case-to-case basis. Bondi has opened back to the public but they will be shut down on weekends – however with the winter months approaching this is less of a concern. The local authorities have also warned that the beaches will be shut down again if the policies are not strictly adhered to.
Of the over 6,000 cases of Covid-19 in Australia, 74 of those have resulted in fatality. While this number isn’t as alarming as those of other countries, Australian officials insist that they are not willing to risk more deaths from the virus. As a result, everyone is encouraged to take the re-opening phase on a day to day basis as officials observe if there is a flattening of the curve that is taking place among confirmed cases.
In Bondi Beach residents and tourists are optimistic that things will go back to normal soon. How soon that will be remains to be a question on everyone’s minds – even local officials. But the good news is that Australian health authorities claim to have the virus under control. If things continue to progress the way it has in the past few weeks, then you can expect for Bondi Beach to be in full swing soon.
Outlook for Bondi Beach in 2020-2021
As the rest of the world faces an unprecedented global pandemic, it is highly apparent that the tourism industry is among the hardest hit. Airplanes have been kept on the ground and many hotels have been forced to close due to low occupancy rates. All of these are happening as a result of travel restrictions all over the world. Even before countries such as Australia had imposed stay-at-home orders, the first quarter of the year 2020 has already seen a decline in tourist arrivals.
To be specific, the UN World Tourism Organisation has cited a 22% decrease in tourist arrivals for the first quarter of 2020 (in comparison to tourist arrivals for the first quarter of the previous year). As of March 2020, the number has gone further down to 57%. This data equates to a loss of up to $US 80 billion!
Domestic and Trans-Tasman Tourism the Beacon of Hope
While the forecast for tourism for the rest of 2020 is clearly looking bleak, there are some areas of hope. Domestic tourism post Corona is a huge market that is waiting to open up again. Unburdened domestic tourists, looking for long weekends or gettaways post lockdown, are going to be a big market for local tourist operators.
Equally, New Zealand could provide a big source of tourism as the prospect of a trans-Tasman bubble is being proposed. The sooner this can get a green light, the better for tourism numbers. New Zealand has been very strict on flattening the curve, and their citizens historically call Australia their second home, so if the doors are open again for Kiwis this will be a great start.
The good thing is that accommodation services are taking advantage of other opportunities to make business during this time of crisis. Some have converted their self-service apartments into isolation accommodations for both tourists and locals. With the travel restrictions in Australia and New South Wales easing up, it will only be a matter of time until accommodation businesses gain their traction once again.
While some parts of Bondi Beach will be open to the public in a gradual manner, expect that there will still be strict regulations in place. This is true of social distancing rules. This is part of the aim to avoid the second wave of the virus spread and to ensure the safety of the beachgoers.