The No Vacancy signs have been hung out the front of hotels, resorts, caravan parks and apartments from Port Douglas to Mission Beach thanks to a bumper winter holiday season, Tourism Queensland has said.
CEO Anthony Hayes said feedback was that the Tropical North was bursting at the seams with holidaymakers, particularly from the southern states, which were shivering through their coldest winter in years.
“Many of the operators we’ve spoken to, from Port Douglas south to Cairns and Mission Beach and west to the Atherton Tablelands, are saying they’re having the best winter holiday season for years – rooms are full, tour operators are busy and restaurants are pumping,” Mr Hayes said.
“Tourism Queensland has recently undertaken a range of aggressive marketing activities to help promote Queensland winter holiday deals and it seems these, combined with other activities and regional events, have been paying off.”
Mr Hayes quoted a June campaign Tourism Queensland partnered in with major travel booker Flight Centre, which reported that Tropical North Queensland was the number one Australian destination overall during the campaign period.
“Flight Centre also reported that the region saw a 23 percent increase in sales compared to the same time last year, a 20 percent increase in room nights, and a 21 percent increase in passenger numbers,” he said.
Mr Hayes said feedback from several individual operators within the region had also been positive, including that an AFL team in the region for a recent game had to stay in Port Douglas and travel down to Cairns because the city was full.
Likewise, Cairns-based Pinnacle Tourism Marketing, which represents a range of product in the region, told Tourism Queensland one of their clients had to bump people to another resort because they were 100 percent full.
“This was a problem that they had not had for a long, long time,” Pinnacle Tourism Marketing Director Michael Nelson said.
“All of the Port Douglas properties are pretty full at the moment. Long may it last.”
CEO of Tourism Tropical North Queensland, Rob Giason, said the region was buzzing during the school holidays off the back of an 18 percent increase in domestic holiday visitors reported in the National Visitor Survey for year ending March 2012, and 22 percent more domestic air services into Cairns.
“Cairns and Port Douglas were numbers two and three on the Wotif.com list of most sought after holiday spots during the July school holidays and visitors travelled throughout the region to the Tablelands, Gulf and Cape regions,” Mr Giason said.
“The International Coral Reef Symposium and the AFL Premiership match played in Cairns between Richmond and the Gold Coast brought the holidays to a crescendo.”
Mr Hayes said the feedback indicated that the region’s tourism industry seemed to be on the up-and-up and that many Australians had defied the current economic uncertainties and were spending on holidays.
“Our intel tells us that strong bookings are continuing into late July and August, but now school holidays are over there are more rooms available,” he said.
“So for anyone still thinking of a winter holiday, it’s not too late to book.”
Mr Hayes said tourism was one of the four pillars of the Queensland economy and that the Queensland Government was committed to doubling overnight visitor expenditure to $30 billion by 2020.