Christmas cheer for local tourism operators
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.”
Lapping it up: Daniel Bailey, Tess Cattana and Nariah Sexton kicking back on Four Mile Beach on Sunday