Tourism Industry appeals for holiday makers to keep their plans to help salvage summer

Cairns +61407313111
Edited by Travel Weekly

    In the aftermath of ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper and widespread flooding that has caused substantial damage in specific areas, the tourism industry is issuing an urgent call for assistance to salvage Christmas and the summer period and prevent further economic downturn.

    While certain regions have been severely affected and are in recovery, for the majority of North Queensland the sun is shining, the rainforest greener than ever before, the waterfalls are bigger and better, and the tourism operators are ready to welcome you with open arms.

    CEO of Tourism Tropical North Queensland, Mark Olsen, emphasises: “It’s essential to recognise that the impacts of ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper and the subsequent flooding are isolated to specific areas. The majority of North Queensland is open for business and ready to provide visitors with an unforgettable experience. We are urging the public and the travel industry to support us during this challenging time.”

    “Even in some of those impacted areas we are seeing great innovation from local businesses, with ferries currently operating between Port Douglas and Cairns, bus routes re-routed to the Daintree and tours tweaked to ensure a world-class, memorable and safe experience.”

    “The North Queensland tourism industry provides an annual $3.7B injection to the State economy, so its critically important that holiday makers retain their bookings, and indeed make plans to visit this incredible part of Australia from anywhere from Mackay to Cairns. But right now, it’s more than economics, it’s the livelihoods of the thousands of people who rely on the visitor economy to support their families. Keeping your holiday booking, well there is no better Christmas gift.”

    CEO of Townsville Enterprise, Claudia Brumme-Smith, echoes the sentiment: “While there are areas North of Cairns that are facing significant infrastructure and access challenges, we want to emphasise that the impact is not uniform across North Queensland. Townsville, Hinchinbrook, Magnetic Island, the Cassowary Coast, Mission Beach and all destinations Cairns and south are indeed ready to receive visitors, and the tourism industry is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable experience.”

    “Cairns and Townsville have always been interlinked as part of drive and rail itineraries for holiday makers for decades. Cairns is a key access hub for our region in Townsville North Queensland, and we are already seeing, in what is meant to be one of the busiest weeks for tourism, visitors diverting, or cancelling holidays as a result. We need this to stop.”

    One of the hard-hit businesses, Roderic Rees from Cairns Adventure Group, shares the immediate impact on his touring products: “The impacts for our business from this weather event are absolutely devastating, we had just scaled up our staffing to prepare for the Christmas period and now we have no indication of when we will be able to reopen all of our 11 touring options.”

    “It’s hard to comprehend that we have not only experienced a 50% loss in revenue overnight, we also have significant infrastructure damage at our Lake Placid and the Marina operations and one of our boats has been completely swamped.”

    “We are really calling for a Christmas miracle and urging holiday makers to support our tours that have reopened including Tully Rafting and our Waterfall Wanderers tour. The extra rain means the waterfalls are more spectacular than ever before and the rafting is an experience not to miss.”

    Accor General Manager Wayne Reynolds expresses his concern: “It is disheartening to report that the group is experiencing significant impacts from cancellations due to the perception that North Queensland is closed for business. The tourism industry in our region is facing an uphill battle, and we urgently seek support to mitigate further losses and aid in the recovery process.”

    Cancellation impacts are coming through from right across the width and breadth of North Queensland. Barb Wilkinson, owner of Magnetic Glamping raises her disappointment: “We launched our brand-new Magnetic Island Glamping resort, just a few weeks before Jasper and we are devastated to be experiencing cancellations already. All off the back of the perception that Townsville and Magnetic Island was impacted by ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper. We have had hardly any rain on Magnetic Island and yet we are only running at very low occupancy. We really need bookings and support from visitors to sustain our new business.”

    Airlines are urged to refrain from offering free cancellations to Cairns-bound travellers, as Mark Olsen of Tourism Tropical North Queensland emphasises, “Cairns is open for business, and we want to dispel any misconceptions that may deter potential visitors. We urge airlines to work closely with us to communicate the accurate status of the region and encourage travel to North Queensland.”

    Despite the challenges in specific areas, North Queensland remains open for business, and stakeholders are eager to welcome visitors. Mark Olsen of Tourism Tropical North Queensland reassures the public, “While certain areas are grappling with the aftermath, Cairns is ready to receive tourists and provide a warm welcome to those seeking an unforgettable holiday experience.”

    The tourism industry implores the community, government, and potential visitors to rally together to support the recovery efforts and salvage Christmas for North Queensland.

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