TOURISTS SHELL OUT ON TUR­TLE TOWN

In­dus­try in for bumper sea­son, de­liv­er­ing ma­jor eco­nomic boost

NewsMail - - FRONT PAGE - TONI BEN­SON-RO­GAN Toni.Ben­son-Ro­[email protected]

AS the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment re­views how the re­gion’s tur­tle pop­u­la­tion is pro­tected in the wake of a con­tro­ver­sial high-rise de­vel­op­ment, new fig­ures show just how vi­tal the hard-shelled lo­cals are to Bundaberg’s tourism in­dus­try.

AS the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment re­views how the re­gion’s tur­tle pop­u­la­tion is pro­tected in the wake of a con­tro­ver­sial high-rise de­vel­op­ment, new fig­ures show just how vi­tal the hard-shelled lo­cals are to Bundaberg’s blos­som­ing tourism in­dus­try.

Ad­vance book­ings for the Mon Re­pos Tur­tle En­counter have nearly dou­bled com­pared to the same pe­riod last sea­son.

Bundaberg Tourism gen­eral man­ager Kather­ine Reid said the en­counter at­tracted about 30,000 peo­ple each sea­son, with more than 25,000 of those trav­el­ling from out­side the re­gion.

Ms Reid said de­spite a tighter tourism bud­get than in pre­vi­ous years, the in­dus­try was en­joy­ing a sig­nif­i­cant up­turn.

“The Bundaberg re­gion of­fers a unique tourism ex­pe­ri­ence, be­ing so close to Bris­bane and the gate­way to the South­ern Great Bar­rier Reef, and years of hard work by the whole of the tourism in­dus­try to de­velop world-class ex­pe­ri­ences and let the world know they’re here are re­ally pay­ing off,” Ms Reid said.

“The strong num­bers for the 2018/19 sea­son are show­ing us that not only is our des­ti­na­tion mar­ket­ing cam­paign work­ing, but that the rep­u­ta­tion of the ex­pe­ri­ence and of the whole re­gion is get­ting sig­nif­i­cant trac­tion both in Aus­tralia and around the world.”

Last sea­son, the tur­tle en­counter had a to­tal of 29678 vis­i­tors with ap­prox­i­mately 17800 Queens­lan­ders, 2800 from in­ter­state, 3700 from out­side Aus­tralia and 5200 lo­cals flock­ing to Mon Re­pos for the unique ex­pe­ri­ence.

Tourism oper­a­tors are gear­ing up for a bumper sum­mer.

Lady Mus­grave Ex­pe­ri­ence owner Brett Lakey said the com­pany was on track for a re­ally big sea­son.

“Our book­ings over sum­mer are look­ing great, es­pe­cially the week be­tween Christ­mas and New Year,” he said.

Kellys Beach Re­sort busi­ness di­rec­tor Loni Ham­mond said it was an ex­cit­ing time.

“De­cem­ber is ahead from last year by three per cent, Jan­uary by five per cent and Fe­bru­ary 21 per cent,” she said.

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