Tourism operators get set for 'biggest winter in 10 years'
IT'S shaping up to be a bumper winter tourism season on the Fraser Coast, with predictions it could be the biggest since the global financial crisis.
Sharon Goodwin from the Harbour View Caravan Park said the park was completely booked out on the weekend.
"It's very full," she said.
"We're having to turn people away because we're so busy.
"It's a pretty popular spot, being so close to the marina and the boat club."
A spokeswoman from the Fraser Coast Beachside Tourist Park in Torquay also confirmed sites were completely full.
Ron Ford from Shelly Beach Caravan Park said his park was also packed.
"It'll be full until about September," he said.
The anecdotal evidence comes on the back of new figures revealing that domestic tourism has contributed about $425 million to the Fraser Coast economy for the year ending March 2018.
It accounts for a 45 per cent growth in domestic visitor expenditure in the region and a 20 per cent increase in visitor numbers.
Fraser Coast Tourism and Events general manager Martin Simons said everything was in place for this winter to be a "very strong season", particularly based on the region's excellent first domestic quarter.
"The temperatures are in our favour, with bleak weather in the southern states," he said.
The Fraser Coast's RV sites and caravan parks were seeing strong results, Mr Simons said.
"There are a lot more people on the road," he said.
Mr Simons said it was important to be cautious rather than too optimistic when it came to predicting tourism numbers.
Last year the region's whale-watching industry was on track to record one of its strongest results.
But rough weather during the school holidays meant instead of reaching 60,000 visitors, about 52,000 passengers went whale-watching in Hervey Bay in 2017.
This year, Mr Simons is hoping favourable conditions will prevail.
"We're hoping to beat that," he said.
Fraser Coast mayor George Seymour said it was promising to see so many people visiting the region.
"It's great to see them here, we've got beautiful weather and great attractions," Cr Seymour said.
"Lots of southerners are coming up here for the winter."
Cr Seymour said with the Mary Poppins Festival and the Oceans Festival approaching, those events would bring even more visitors to the region.
He said it could be the biggest winter season in 10 years.