Deserted streets, empty cafes and angry taxi drivers as local businesses battle unexpected downturn

On the tourist strip of Cavill Avenue, people spill out of bars in the early afternoon. Footpaths are jostling with all sorts: groups of teenagers straggling back from the beach, families walking to lunch.

About 150 metres from Cavill, in the heart of Surfers Paradise, a couple of backpackers eat their lunch in an otherwise empty laneway.

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