Christ­mas cheer for lo­cal tourism op­er­a­tors

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

TRAD­ING dur­ing Christ­mas and new year has given busi­ness own­ers in the Dou­glas re­gion cause for op­ti­mism.

Ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Doug Ryan said it seemed fam­i­lies, in par­tic­u­lar, had cho­sen to spend the fes­tive sea­son in the area which con­firmed the in­dus­try’s be­lief that Port Dou­glas re­mained an “as­pi­ra­tional des­ti­na­tion”.

“We should be do­ing well at this time of year and the feed­back I’ve had to date is busi­nesses are do­ing quite well and that’s a trend that tra­di­tion­ally should con­tinue un­til about the sec­ond week­end of Jan­uary,” Mr Ryan said.

Po­sei­don sales as­sis­tant Jenna Ge­orge said tourists had made the most of the calm con­di­tions in Far North­ern wa­ters.

“The boats have been run­ning fully booked ev­ery day of the week with per­fect weather con­di­tions,” she said.

The Cen­tral Ho­tel was one of sev­eral lo­cal wa­ter­ing holes to ex­pe­ri­ence an up­turn in pa­tron­age. But de­spite the hot, sul­try con­di­tions, as­sis­tant man­ager Blain Hay­ward said it was food sales, not bar tak­ings, which had in­creased.

Mr Hay­ward ruled out any sug­ges­tion bar sales could have been im­pacted by lo­cals mak­ing new year’s res­o­lu­tions to quit drink­ing or re­duce their al­co­hol con­sump­tion.

“No, I don’t think so. It’s a trend we’ve seen through­out the year - not just this pe­riod. Our food sales are re­ally good while the bar is down on pre­vi­ous years. It’s not that peo­ple aren’t drink­ing but they are prob­a­bly com­ing in for a cou­ple of quiet ones or tak­ing it home from the bot­tle shop,” Mr Hay­ward said.

“It’s been a good sea­son. We’ve had three very pos­i­tive weeks but it is start­ing to die off again now and Fe­bru­ary through to March is go­ing to be tough.”

In the Dain­tree, op­er­a­tor Lawrence Ma­son said an in­creased num­ber of vis­i­tors had helped at the end of a dif­fi­cult year.

“There has been a burst of busi­ness over Christ­mas and New Year and we are hop­ing in April we will see an in­crease again. Last year was the worst since the 1980s due to the high Aus­tralian dol­lar and global fi­nan­cial cri­sis,” Mr Ma­son said.

Port Dou­glas re­tail man­ager Doug Calvert said good crowds in Macrossan Street had not nec­es­sar­ily boosted the re­tail sec­tor as hol­i­day mak­ers were more in­clined to “watch their pen­nies”.

“It’s not like down south with the Boxing Day splurges, there’s a lot of peo­ple around town and a lot of ac­tiv­ity hap­pen­ing but as far as the re­tail spend­ing, it’s not fan­tas­tic.

“We are very happy to see so many peo­ple here con­sid­er­ing the me­dia has said that floods have hit ’Far North Queens­land’. It wasn’t as bad as what it could have been.”

Photo by NEIL WEAVERS

Lap­ping it up: Daniel Bai­ley, Tess Cat­tana and Nariah Sex­ton kick­ing back on Four Mile Beach on Sun­day

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