Disaster and disease: Australia tourism's woe

Imagine showing up for a late check-in at a vacation resort, only to find out that the place has been ruined by a natural disaster.

Carol Curry says she had to tell this to two guests who arrived at the Marina Holiday Park on a recent night, about 200 miles north of Sydney.

She manages the park. The place is emblematic of widespread heartache across Australia tourism's industry.

It was counting on this season to rebound after a year of coronavirus shutdowns.

And Australians, tired of it all, were counting on them for some relief. Then the floods came. The massive floods, the likes of which hadn't been seen in half a century.

"We were fully booked. So yeah, that's been a bit of a task on it's own, trying to contact the people that were coming to the Park and advising them as the office went under and so did all our reservation books and computers and things like that."

"Every cabin would have been choc-a-block full of kids and families and have the big Easter hunt on Easter Sunday morning and they would have been out here at the BBQ area and in the pool and it would have been, yeah, it's always a good time."

Tourism is a big part of Australia's economy. It generated about U.S.$47 billion in 2019, according to the industry group Tourism Australia. About 5% of Australians are employed by it.

Anissa Manton co-owns the Stony Aqua Park, not far from Curry's. She says she's looking at six months of repairs, and her insurance provider is offering no help.

"Which was extremely disappointing. It's a sub-clause apparently in your insurance which is due to tourism. So I'm not the only one to find this out."

"Which I find hard to believe but, anyway that's the case, so we do spend in excess of $150,000 a year on insurance but, yeah, no insurance."

Manton says she's fortunate because they managed to get far enough into the tourism season unscathed to set some money aside.

With a new coronavirus outbreak in at least one state, the pain will continue.