Gate­way to host of trea­sures

City’s tourist draw­card sta­tus strength­ened

Townsville Bulletin - - Nye — Party Central - By ADAM WATKIN

TOWNSVILLE has made the top five for Queens­land’s top sum­mer hol­i­day des­ti­na­tions for 2006.

Ac­cord­ingto ma­jor travel book­ing­web­site wo­tif.com, the Townsville re­gion fin­ished in fifth place, a po­si­tion it has held for the past two years.

Wo­tif CEO and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Graeme Wood said Townsville ap­pealed to the leisure mar­ket in the sum­mer­time with nearby at­trac­tions such as Mag­netic Is­land, Hinch­in­brook Is­land and The Strand.

He said Townsville’s close prox­im­ity to the Whit­sun­days and Queens­land’s trop­i­cal north made the twin cities one of the more ideal cen­tral des­ti­na­tions.

‘‘Coastal ar­eas are al­ways pop­u­lar and from the feed­back that we are get­ting from our sup­pli­ers, Townsville has a stron­gap­peal to the cor­po­rate trav­eller,’’ Mr Wood said.

‘‘The re­gion con­tin­ues to be a strong p e r f o r m e r o n wo­tif.com be­cause of its mild weather and suc­cess­ful NRL team which sees many peo­ple flock to Townsville dur­ingthe win­ter months as well.

‘‘Also with the ex­ten­sive amount of de­vel­op­ment that is in prog- ress and sched­uled for pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties and private fa­cil­i­ties such as ho­tels, Townsville looks set to con­tinue its strong­per­for­mance.’’

Townsville En­ter­prise Lim­ited tourism man­ager Martina Nei­dig­said the top five fin­ish re­in­forced the strong­pop­u­lar­ity of Townsville and North Queens­land.

‘‘We are ex­tremely proud of our po­si­tion as the top five des­ti­na­tion on wo­tif.com, given the search’s pop­u­lar­ity and rankingof wo­tif as a ma­jor travel book­ing site,’’ Ms Nei­dig­said.

‘‘The po­si­tion is re­flec­tive of the growth we have re­ceived in vis­i­ta­tion, oc­cu­pancy and in gen­eral book­ings over the past 12 months.’’

Ms Nei­dig­said

she ex­pected Townsville’s rank­ingto im­prove once tourism op­er­a­tors be­came more aware of the ben­e­fits the In­ter­net could have on tourism.

‘‘As our tourism op­er­a­tors be­come more on-line savvy and aware of the ben­e­fits of on­line dis­tri­bu­tion, we can only ex­pect this rank­ingto im­prove,’’ she said.

‘‘Or even with the roll-out of V3, a so­phis­ti­cated on­line book­ing in­ven­tory for the new year, our fo­cus will be to ed­u­cate in­dus­try on the ben­e­fits of e-based dis­tri­bu­tion.

‘‘So given this push and new level of raised aware­ness we ex­pect the on­line abil­ity and rankingof our re­gion to im­prove.’’

The Gold Coast was the top sum­mer hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion, fol­lowed by Sun­shine Coast, Bris­bane and the trop­i­cal north.

Photo:BRYANLYNCHTAO45168

DES­TINED TO RE­LAX . . . Leanne Dalle Cort takes it easy on The Strand

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