CHRISTMAS cheer is spreading through the Whitsundays as locals prepare to celebrate what is expected to be a bumper festive season for our tourism operators.
Cruise Whitsundays chief executive officer Nick Hortle said he was so confident of a high demand for day cruises that two vessels had been scheduled to the Great Barrier Reef on selected days starting this week.
Mr Hortle said between Boxing Day and January 6, there would also be an additional vessel visiting Whitehaven Beach.
“It is an excellent sign that tours are booking out so far in advance [and] I think the region will have a huge holiday period,” he said.
Pinnacles Resort owner Sue Watson said she hadn’t seen a December this busy in a long time.
“Booking lead times are getting shorter and shorter these days but we are already heavily booked all the way through to the end of January which is a welcome change to normal,” she said. Ms Watson said she was also noticing a big increase in international visitors.
A spokesperson from Hamilton Island said the island had experienced record occupancy in 2013 with October and November being the strongest months.
“These healthy occupancy figures are being repeated in December and Hamilton Island is looking forward to welcoming guests to the is- land to celebrate the festive season,” the spokesperson said. Meanwhile, around the region, families have been embracing the Christmas spirit with some taking their Christmas decorations to new heights. Included in this are the Harrison family whose garden arrangement at their Sugarloaf home has been pulling in a crowd of passers-by.
MERRY CHRISTMAS: Samantha Harrison, Amy Walsh, Darryl Sanders, Adam Smith, Sandra Walsh, Veronica Black, Jamie Sanders, William Smith, Lynett Harrison, Harriet Black, Josh Smith, Jessica Smith and Sarah Black (front), Jennifer Smith, Nicholas and Barry Sanders and Mitchell Walsh (back) and Stephen Harrison (inside the truck), are all enjoying this thoroughly festive Christmas set-up in the front garden of the Harrison's Sugarloaf home.
HO HO HO: Santa has been in the Whitsundays taking a holiday ahead of his 32-hour around-the-world Christmas Eve journey. He is pictured here on the Hamilton Island golf course.