ESCAPE: Lake Mckenzie, Fraser Island, Queensland. Picture: Tourism Australia
ESCAPE: Lake Mckenzie, Fraser Island, Queensland. Picture: Tourism Australia

Visitor numbers building in Bay, but weaker in M’boro

ACCOMMODATION bookings are booming in Hervey Bay ahead of the school holidays.

However, the news in Maryborough is far less positive.

Tourism experts believe Hervey Bay is well positioned to benefit from the expected $1 billion tourism spend across Queensland during the school holidays, with Hervey Bay accommodation operators reporting solid bookings with a number recording occupancy ahead of last year.

The $1 billion "bonanza" is an estimate by Tourism & Events Queensland based polling which shows 42 per cent of the State's population is planning a holiday in the coming weeks.

The positive bookings are reflected in the trend line displayed in the weekly STR accommodation monitor for the Fraser Coast for the week of June 14-20, with occupancy moving ahead of the prior year for the first time since the COVID-19 health crisis began.

STR measures a basket of the larger accommodation providers on the Fraser Coast including the island resorts.

Lady Elliot Island is fully booked at 50 per cent capacity due to social distancing restrictions and the Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island is also trending ahead of 2019 for guest bookings in July.

The Oaks Resort and Spa is leading the larger venues with 95 per cent occupancy, with the Bay Apartments at 90 per cent.

The smaller properties are trending between 50 per cent and 70 per cent.

Generally, operators are reporting a large number of guests from the south-east corner, including Bribie, Brisbane and the Gold Coast with more visitors also coming from western Queensland centres like Dalby and Chinchilla.

The position in Maryborough is far less positive, with all accommodation businesses below the prior year and most running at sub-20 per cent occupancy.

The Carriers Arms Hotel Motel is performing strongest at 50 per cent.

The prior year comparison for Maryborough motels and caravan parks will be further impacted in the coming fortnight as last year the city enjoyed the patronage of participants in the State Touch Carnival and the biennial music teachers' conference, both of which are not happening this year.

However, the good news continues for Hervey Bay caravan parks with strong bookings across the board for the school holidays with visitors from the south-east corner and Toowoomba.

Six of the major Hervey Bay parks, including three on the beachfront, are at 100 per cent capacity and some others are at 90 per cent and in the mid-80s.

There is concern about how long the Queensland border may remain closed because forward bookings are heavily skewed from Victoria and New South Wales.

Visitor information centre numbers and tour sales are continuing to build at the Hervey Bay and Maryborough centre, with 153 visitors stopping at Hervey Bay between 12-18 June and 153 the following week. Most visitors were from regions within 400km of centre.

In the same periods Maryborough received 177 and 211 visitors respectively, with an equal dispersion of visitors from within 400km of centre and local region visitors. The centre received a higher number of visitors from further afield within Queensland than experienced in Hervey Bay

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