23% drop in visitors to Bundy

A BUNDABERG motel owner has called for a long-term tourism plan after figures showed a year-on-year drop in visitors of almost a quarter.

The statistics, just released by Tourism Queensland, show a drop in overnight visitors of 23%, or 527,000 people, in the region between June 2008 and June 2009 compared to the previous 12-month period.

“It seems there is no long-term planning and whatever planning there is seems to stop until the next election,” Oscar Motel owner Wendy Carter said.

However, despite the downturn, Mrs Carter said the motel had not seen the drop the figures suggested.

Bundaberg Regional mayor Lorraine Pyefinch agreed a long-term plan was needed to attract tourists.

“We have identified tourism as one of our priorities as far as long-term economic development for the region goes,” she said.

Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism general manager James Corbin warned the annual figures may not be the best indication for the region.

“Talking to operators around, it appears that places, especially the caravan parks, have had a great winter,” he said.

Mr Corbin said trend-change figures were often the most accurate measure of what was going on in the industry.

The trend change, which compares the three years to June 2008 with the three years June 2009, shows the industry remains stable, with little change in domestic visitors and an 11% increase in international visitors.

Kelly's Beach Resort marketing director Loni Hammond said attracting visitors was a group effort.

“We need other things like Bundaberg Rum and the lavender farm to help get people here,” she said.

Bundaberg Distillery Bondstore manager Peter Selinger said they had bucked the trend recording an increase in visitors.

“The ideal outcome for us is that each visitor to the Bondstore spends at least one extra night on local accommodation, eating at local restaurants and shopping in local shops,” he said.

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