The NSW government launched a multimillion dollar new tourism campaign as 296 new Covid-19 infections and four deaths were confirmed.
NSW has recorded 296 new local Covid-19 infections and four deaths as the Perrottet government lauds its bold reopening plan, spruiking the state in a multimillion dollar tourism advertising campaign.
Of the 4626 active cases in NSW, 480 are in hospital, 119 of whom are in intensive care.
The four deaths were all men: two in their 60s, one in his 70s and one in his 80s.
Two men were from western Sydney and the other two were from south western Sydney.
Three were not vaccinated and one man had received two vaccine doses.
The numbers are greatly reduced from the peak of NSW’s Delta outbreak and came as Premier Dominic Perrottet and state Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres launched a new tourism advertising campaign ‘Feel New South Wales’, spruiking scenic landmarks.
Mr Ayres said the campaign would feature heavily on social media as well as traditional media, and he was keen to run it overseas, with a Sydney-specific campaign to follow.
“There’s not a person on the planet that we don’t want this campaign to talk to,” the minister told reporters.
Mr Perrottet replied “definitely” when asked if NSW had “got the jump” on international tourism with its recent announcement that from November 1, people who have been double-jabbed with a TGA-approved vaccine will be allowed to fly into Sydney from overseas without needing to quarantine.
The announcement came a day before the state passed its 80 per cent fully vaccinated target.
“I think the news that we removed hotel quarantine wasn’t just news that had other states around the country relax their restrictions, but that news went global,” he said.
“As a result of that announcement, Qantas have brought back 11,000 people .. who have been stood down for over 18 months.
“From our state’s perspective, we are more than happy to continue to take our fair share and help returning Australians from other states come home as quickly as possible but we’ve got to keep moving, we’ve got to bring back tourism.
“The changes that we made to hotel quarantine was a game-changer, supported by the federal government.
“They’ve got to work through challenging issues in respect of proof of vaccination prior to boarding a plane in an overseas jurisdiction but I know that they are already having their discussions … about how we can start bringing international tourism, international travel apart from returning Australians as quickly as possible.”
Mr Ayres said Sydney hotels were starting to have 25-30 per cent occupancy.
“These are relatively low numbers but compared to what they were a few weeks ago with single digit occupancy, we’re really starting to see those green shoots.
The campaign comes as the state grapples with a labour shortage.
Mr Perrottet told journalists on Saturday there was a dire shortage of hospitality and agricultural workers to handle a surge in trade after the state emerged from three months in lockdown.
“We know, particularly with reductions in immigration, reductions in skilled labour, international students not returning at this stage, it’s made it incredibly difficult for many industries to get the workers that they need,” he said.
Mr Perrottet said that over the past week, hospitality trade had surged 200 per cent but staff numbers were down 50 per cent.
Under a pilot program, 500 international students will be allowed into NSW in December and Mr Perrottet wants that to expand as soon as possible.
“We want as many students back for the semester one next year,” the Premier said on Sunday.