[News] Brisbane inner-city retail, tourism shakes off effects of COVID-19

Woolloongabba is also set to have an urban renewal once projects like Cross River Rail and the new Olympic stadium roll on, and South City square continues to progress by adding residential, retail and short-term accommodation facilities.

Committee for Brisbane chief executive officer Barton Green said the report tracked how Brisbane performed as communities learnt to live with COVID-19.

“It highlights a bounce-back effect amongst residents, visitors, and businesses with a sense of urgency for enjoying experiences within the tourism, and education and residential sectors,” he said.

“And while retail and office sectors are yet to recover to pre-COVID-19 levels, they are showing some
signs of renewal and repair.”

Record growth of 36,00 employers and more than 16,500 additional residents moved into inner-city Brisbane since the 2016 census.

The tourism market was described as “significantly healthier and upbeat in comparison to previous years” with tourism occupancy rate reaching more than 70 per cent for the first time in more than two years and the rates in Brisbane CBD were 10 per cent lower than pre-pandemic years.

“Major new infrastructure and accommodation facilities within the CBD and for the city as a whole will continue to change the face of the CBD’s tourism sector,” the report said.

Occupancy rates were consistently higher in Brisbane when compared to Sydney and Melbourne – where occupancy has been consistently 10 to 15 per cent lower.

The return of international students to Brisbane has also echoed a positive reinforcement with numbers being reminiscent of those in 2019.

“Brisbane especially seems to have recovered well, with its large student accommodation providers reporting occupancy rates of 95 per cent-plus, and a number of expansion and development projects identified by some of Brisbane’s top universities,” the report said.

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