After a long absence, international students may boost sectors in Queensland that have been struggling. However, the state government must ensure institutions can compete with their interstate counterparts.
Vice-chancellor Margaret Sheil of the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) said this decision would affect many industries that rely on this sector.
"For all of the universities and the regions and the cities and for the accommodation providers, the businesses that provide services, the businesses that require students to work," Professor Sheil stated.
Quarantine at Wellcamp, a 1,000-bed facility near Toowoomba that is presently under construction, will be required for students attending Queensland universities.
Foreign students from health-related faculties are to be given priority, according to Tourism and Innovation Minister Stirling Hinchliffe. Additionally, he added medical and allied health students, particularly those who can support frontline workers.
The vice-chancellor of James Cook University, Sandra Harding, said local employers in regional areas had missed international students and contributions to their communities.
Professor Harding said that they have visiting families and friends who spend a lot of money exploring the state and the country. Staff shortages in the hospitality industry are largely due to a reduction in students.
Alchemy restaurant owner Angelica Jolly welcomes the news but says the industry needs the students before Christmas.
International student numbers have declined by about half, according to Mitchell Institute education policy fellow Peter Hurley.
"In March of last year, there were 109,771 international students enrolled at Queensland institutions. Now there are about 69,500, Out of those, 69,500, 48,939 are in the country, and about 20,569 are outside of Queensland," Dr Hurley mentioned.
Professor Sheil said the sector had experienced record growth before the COVID-19 pandemic, growth that might never be repeated.
Despite the sector's eventual recovery, Dr Hurley said Queensland might lose out to rival states due to the necessity of hotel quarantine.
According to Harding, there's every reason to expect New South Wales to move more quickly. Meanwhile, South Australia has already indicated that it's looking at its quarantine requirements.