How tourists can keep track of ever-changing and complex Covid restrictions when they hit the road after state borders finally open
- New app developed for tourists to keep track of Covid restrictions in each state
- KnowNotNo app deals with uncertainty of travelling in a Covid-restricted world
- Developer Matt McKinley hopes it will help travellers and the tourism industry
Matt McKinley has seen first-hand the devastating impact Covid-19 border closures has had on tourism.
The IT developer is a long time Cairns resident in a North Queensland city that depends on tourists, prompting him to develop an app for holidaymakers to keep up with latest restrictions when they can finally return.
‘People have lost confidence and they have lost a lot of money,’ he told AAP.
Trips to the Great Barrier Reef have plummeted by more than 50 cent after Australia’s national and state borders first closed in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Keanu Ashwell, Matt McKinley, Scott Snowball, Josh Pinalli (all pictured) have launched the GoPassport app, which will track changing Covid restrictions for travellers while they’re on the road.
The loss of the tourist trade has cost the Australian economy big time. National yearly visitor figures show a drop in spending of $33 billion, or 42 per cent, up till March 2021.
And more than a year since Covid restrictions began, even domestic travellers still fear last-minute changes could leave them stranded at a state border or put an end to their plans altogether.
So Mr McKinley’s IT company has developed an app called KnowNotNo that deals with the uncertainty of travelling in a Covid-restricted world.
Travellers enter their itinerary and the app tracks the rules in place at their departure point and destination, sending through alerts if anything changes before they leave or while they’re on the road.
It can be used anywhere in Australia and countries such as New Zealand that share a travel bubble.
Trips to Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef (pictured) have plummeted by more than 50 cent since the pandemic hit Australia’s shores in early 2020
The North Queensland city of Cairns (pictured) relies heavily on international and domestic tourism, which has declined in the last 18 months
Mr McKinley says it’s especially difficult for travellers to track changing Covid restrictions while in transit, so his program scrapes information provided by state and federal authorities to provide instant updates.
‘We monitor the government health websites and from there we notify people,’ he said.
KnowNotNo sends three alerts for free but then requires a $7.99 payment to continue tracking a single trip.
Mr McKinley hopes the app, which took about five months to develop, will help travellers and the tourism industry both.
‘There is going to be complexity in the future, it’s not going back to the way it was before,’ he said.
Holidaymakers will be able to keep up with latest Covid restrictions in each state through the KnowNotNo app (pictured tourist at Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays)