Great sea­son for busi­ness

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - BUSINESS - AN­GELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

THE Christ­mas-new Year pe­riod has been the busiest since be­fore the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis for many in the Port Dou­glas hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try.

Ital­ian restau­rant bel cibo’s owner Andy Gray has re­ported the busiest fes­tive sea­son since he started three years ago with “big numbers” walk­ing in.

“We cer­tainly had a huge week, our busiest week we’ve had, I think that’s part to do with the rep­u­ta­tion get­ting built up, the team we’ve got on the floor and in the kitchen,” he said.

“The weather’s very good and that ob­vi­ously keeps peo­ple around and I think you might start see­ing ben­e­fits from things like the Chal­lenge Cairns.

“Also the amount of money that’s been thrown at ad­ver­tis­ing down south to come up to Far North Queens­land to have a hol­i­day.

“I’ve talked to a lot of restau­rants and cafes, the juice bar said he did a record morn­ing, it’s all about eat­ing and drink­ing at Christ­mas time and I think that’s why the restau­rants and cafes do bet­ter around this time of year.”

While the end of the fes­tive sea­son and be­gin­ning of school will see tourist numbers drop for the re­main­der of the school hol­i­days, there is still a good vibe around town.

“It’s still busy now,” Mr Gray said.

“It’s been great look­ing around town and see­ing heaps of peo­ple and no car parks.

“And once they’re here if we can give them good food, good ser­vice and a smile, they might not come back next year but they might come back the fol­low­ing year or they’ll tell some­one it was good here and some­one else will come.”

The high numbers of tourists is re­flec­tive of the near-full sta­tus of the re­sorts around town, with the Sher­a­ton Mi­rage boast­ing a ca­pac­ity of un­der-90 per cent for Christ­mas and 99 per cent for New Year’s.

Sher­a­ton Mi­rage’s rev- enue man­ager Amanda Harp­ley said the fig­ures for Christ­mas has sub­stan­tially in­creased com­pared to pre­vi­ous years.

“What we’re see­ing com­ing through oc­cu­pancy is quite good de­mand and in De­cem­ber over­all we did bet­ter than pre­vi­ous years and we’re look­ing at an im­prove­ment in oc­cu­pancy for Jan­uary,” she said.

“It has been mostly do­mes­tic busi­ness but def­i­nitely de­mand for the desti­na­tion is still there, if peo­ple can get a deal they def­i­nitely want to come up here and ev­ery­one is look­ing for a deal.

“Over the New Year pe­riod as far as numbers, we’re look­ing at 800 to 900 peo­ple and that was quite good for the restau­rant out­lets.”

The hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try is look­ing for­ward to the up­com­ing events of 2012, in­clud­ing Chal­lenge Cairns and the Novem­ber to­tal so­lar eclipse which is ex­pected to bring up to 20,000 peo­ple to our re­gion.

Photo by NEIL WEAVERS

Bel­lisimo: bel cibo’s An­toine Vau­therot and Andy Gray have been flat out

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