WATCH THE TOWN BOOM

Hol­i­day num­bers some of the best yet

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

TOURISM op­er­a­tors around the re­gion have de­clared these school hol­i­days as some of the best yet as ho­tels hit full oc­cu­pancy and tour op­er­a­tors re­ported surg­ing de­mand.

At Ho­tel Group man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Jeff Aquilina said 99% of Air­lie Beach prop­er­ties were booked out on Satur­day.

“It was a long week­end, it was the end of school hol­i­days for Queens­land and a dou­ble win for Air­lie Beach,” he said.

“It was great weather, it’s a great des­ti­na­tion and with a very high de­mand. It’s re­ally good to see the town so busy.”

AIR­LIE Beach has ex­pe­ri­enced an­other school hol­i­day boom, with ho­tel and tourism op­er­a­tors record­ing a mas­sive cou­ple of weeks.

At Ho­tel Group, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Jeff Aquilina, said it was a record pe­riod for the ho­tel group, with oc­cu­pancy up 5% on pre­vi­ous years.

“It’s book­ing out a lot sooner that pre­vi­ous years. It’s good for busi­ness be­cause you can plan bet­ter when things are com­ing early,” he said.

“Cer­tainly it’s our busiest sea­son from now un­til Christ­mas and our fu­ture book­ings look stronger than usual.”

Mr Aquilina said he thought an in­crease in des­ti­na­tion mar­ket­ing and ease of air travel were be­hind the num­bers boost.

“I think the des­ti­na­tion ob­vi­ously had a lot of mar­ket­ing in re­cent years and the aware­ness is quite high,” he said.

“Cer­tainly also the di­rect air ac­cess from Mel­bourne with Jet­star to Proser­pine. We’ve had a year of that now, this time last year the flight was fairly new. That flight has helped.”

Cruise Whit­sun­days CEO Nick Hor­tle said they were do­ing dou­ble trips to the reef.

“The first week be­ing Queens­land school hol­i­days showed steady book­ings, but it was week two that in­creased with the rest of Aus­tralia be­ing on school hol­i­days. It al­lowed us to in­crease ca­pac­ity and sched­ule dou­ble boat days for the Great Bar­rier Reef,” he said.

Tourism Whit­sun­days CEO Craig Turner said the feed­back from tourism op­er­a­tors had been very pos­i­tive.

“Our num­bers are strong from our tra­di­tional mar­kets across the state and ob­vi­ously also in­ter­state. Across the board it’s look­ing very good,” he said.

“I know a lot of tourism op­er­a­tors were run­ning at full oc­cu­pancy. Tra­di­tion­ally it is a good time for us.”

Mr Turner said they had been per­form­ing par­tic­u­larly well in the do­mes­tic mar­ket.

PHOTO: AN­DREW PAT­TIN­SON / VAMPP PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

SURGE: No va­cancy signs have been pop­ping up across the Whit­sun­days for the Septem­ber school hol­i­days.

FUN TIMES: The Air­lie Beach la­goon is al­ways pop­u­lar over school hol­i­days.

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