Tourists fifi nally flflock for Easter bonanza

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - SAM SMALLBONE

LO­CAL busi­ness own­ers fi­nally had rea­son to smile over the Easter break with crowds of tourists fill­ing the streets, pubs and re­sort rooms af­ter a pro­longed pe­riod of eco­nomic hard­ship.

The af­fects of the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis, nat­u­ral dis­as­ters and the high Aus­tralian dol­lar have drained the lo­cal tourism in­dus­try for al­most three years.

Tourism Queens­land and Tourism Port Dou­glas Dain­tree have strived to mar­ket the re­gion as “open for busi­ness” over the past few months - and af­ter the Easter craze many lo­cals are con­vinced it may have worked.

Thou­sands of vis­i­tors were wel­comed with open arms by tourism op­er­a­tors, restau­rants and re­sort man­agers, al­though many have low­ered their rates to cap­ture a slice of the mar­ket.

Re­flec­tions man­ager Carmel An­gelino said the re­sort was fully booked this Easter with a lot of vis­i­tors from Vic­to­ria who wanted to es­cape the cold weather.

“The weeks lead­ing up to Easter have been the worst I have ever seen so it is fan­tas­tic to see so many vis­i­tors in town,” she said.

“We have been fully booked this Easter pe­riod.”

Hi­bis­cus Re­sort and Spa man­ager Shane Branch said his spa hasn’t been empty all week thanks to his spe­cial hol­i­day rates.

All 170 rooms from Ry­dges Sabaya Re­sort were filled over the long week­end, prov­ing to be a sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment from last year’s oc­cu­pancy fig­ures.

Ry­dges Sabaya Re­sort gen­eral man­ager Daniel Meek said that this Easter has been one of the bet­ter hol­i­day sea­sons they have had in years.

“We have had 100 per cent oc­cu­pancy lead­ing up to Easter and over the long week­end,” he said.

“It is a sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment com­pared to last year.”

Tourism op­er­a­tors also no­ticed the in­flux of tourists with Ca­lypso op­er­at­ing two boats at full ca­pac­ity and Poseidon car­ry­ing 80 pas­sen­gers ev­ery day.

Poseidon owner Peter Wright said the boats have been full ev­ery day.

“It is quite nor­mal for us to be busy over the Easter hol­i­days but from what we have seen this has been a great Easter,” he said.

Cape Tribu­la­tion and Dain­tree tourism op­er­a­tors have also been swamped with vis­i­tors thanks to the free ferry passes.

So­lar Whis­per Wildlife Cruises man­ager David White is con­vinced tourists were at­tracted to the re­gion thanks to Tourism Queens­land’s mar­ket­ing strate­gies.

“It has been dead up un­til Easter and over the hol­i­day it was re­ally busy,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to the lo­cals, cars were lined up wait­ing to get on the Dain­tree River ferry more than an hour on the week­end.

Hol­i­day hot spots ap­peared to be the lo­cal pubs and restau­rants where vis­i­tors were spend­ing big bucks on al­co­hol and fine din­ing.

Bel cibo restau­rant owner Andy Gray said the restau­rant was re­ally busy through­out the hol­i­days.

“It has been fan­tas­tic we have been very busy in the lead-up to Easter,” he said.

“We don’t ex­pect fam­i­lies to dine out ev­ery night be­cause it is ex­pen­sive to take the fam­ily out for a meal but the tourists were def­i­nitely spoil­ing them­selves.

“It has been a lot busier than last year.”

But re­tail and restau­rant spokesman for the Port Dou­glas Cham­ber of Com­merce Doug Calvert said tourists were hold­ing onto their credit cards when it came to spend­ing in re­tail stores.

“It’s great to see an in­crease in the num­ber of peo­ple in town but they are not spend­ing a huge amount in re­tail stores,” he said.

“For us this Easter hasn’t been much dif­fer­ent to last year, it just goes up and down.”

Lov­ing it: Shae Trethowan and Andrew Smith from Mel­bourne re­lax in Rex Smeal Park

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.