CHRISTMAS BOOST: Bay's booking boom
WHILE Hervey Bay is reaping in the benefits of a bookings boom this festive season, most Maryborough accommodation operators have entered the quiet period.
According to Bayside Apartments manager Derek Foulston it's business as usual for the Bay's tourist numbers.
"We are fully booked which is pretty typical this time of year,” he said. "We have been full since last week and have no gaps until January 8 with about 80 per cent booked until mid-January.
"We are also seeing the trend where people are staying a lot longer.
"Our average stay has changed this year, it used to be an average of four nights and now we have an average of six nights but I'm seeing customers book longer for 8, 10, 14 nights this December one is even staying three weeks.”
Mr Foulston credited the increase to family reunions and Hervey Bay's attractions.
And for Howard's Lyn Jarman and her husband Allan a family reunion doesn't always mean blood.
Ms Jarman has been a patron of Scarness Beachside Caravan Park for Christmas for 66 years so far.
"There is a group of us whose parents came here and then our children also come here. My family has six generations who camp here. Some of us even played together as kids,” she said.
"We always have the same spots and they ring you up during the year to ask you when you are arriving for the summer.
"Every year we keep coming back because of our connection to family and friends, it is the best beach ever and so relaxing.
"I remember when chicken was a luxury and we had to keep it in a coop out the front of our tent in the sand to eat for Christmas Day.”
Both park relief manager Alex Evans and Buzers owner David Denny said their respective venues have been booked out since December 15 and are expected to clear late January.
Whereas Maryborough's Carriers Arms Hotel Motel staff member Fiona Bidgood said Christmas was a slower time for business in the inland centre.
"We are filling about 30 per cent capacity with a lot of tradies who are working in the region over the holidays,” she said.
Ned Kelly's Motel Maryborough manager Wayne Oatley continued the sentiment, agreeing tradesmen filled in the annual downturn.
"The Maryborough Speedway also brings a few out of town guests this time of year,” he said.
While Maryborough Caravan Park bucked the trend at 80 per cent capacity according to manager Jenny Sykes.
"Our cabins are most popular this time of year,” she said.