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26 March, 2020

Skyrail and the Kuranda Scenic Railway stop

One of North Queensland's most awarded tourist attractions came to a grinding halt yesterday as Skyrail took the unprecedented step of shutting down.

By Phil Brandel

One of North Queensland's most awarded tourist attractions came to a grinding halt yesterday.

It has won more than 25 international awards, is listed as one of the top ten things to do in Far North Queensland but yesterday Skyrail took the unprecedented step of shutting down.

In a written statement announcing the temporary closure:

"Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, Skyrail Rainforest Cableway has made the very difficult decision to temporarily suspend operations until further notice.

"Due to the complexity in the global tourism landscape at present, we are unable to provide a specific date for our recommencement of operations however it is our intention to reopen as soon as practicable. We will continue to provide regular updates via our website and directly to the industry in due course.

"Our Reservations Team will be in contact with guests and agents holding bookings that are impacted by these changes.”

In 2015 Skyrail not only celebrated 20 years of operation but also its 10 millionth visitor.

Along with Skyrail, the Kuranda Scenic Railway (KSR)and the Gulflander have also stopped running.

Queensland Rail CEO Nick Easy said that due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and also to help stop the spread of the disease the KSR would stop running. “Queensland Rail remains committed to supporting Queenslanders with their essential travel needs, but the health and safety of our staff and customers – and preventing the spread of COVID-19 – is paramount,” he said

“To assist with the Government’s containment strategy for COVID-19, we’ve made the difficult but necessary decision to halt all Kuranda Scenic Railway services, in the interest of avoiding non-essential gatherings,

“With non-essential travel and tourism being discouraged, we’ve seen patronage on Kuranda Scenic Railway services decrease by 89 per cent this week.”

Executive Officer Tourism Kuranda Kahlia Pepper said the decision to suspend Skyrail was made with customers in mind “I’m sure It’s a decision they (Skyrail) haven’t made lightly, but necessary in their part in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19, she said

Even before the Skyrail announced their suspended closure Ms Pepper said that over half of the village businesses and market stallholders in Kuranda were already closed.

“Due to the complexity in global tourism landscape at present, with no visitors coming in our region, just like Cairns and Port Douglas many businesses had no choice but to temporarily close their doors this week.

“In Kuranda, The essential services thou are still open and some cafes/restaurants are open providing takeaway only.

“When the domestic and global tourism market bounces back we look forward to welcoming the world with open arms back to Kuranda, when that will be, is difficult to say.”



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