‘Absolute madhouse:’ Coast operators full to the brim
Sunshine Coast tourism operators and business owners are in high spirits after the Ekka long weekend, with visitors flocking to enjoy all the region has to offer.
Operators' phones were ringing non-stop for the past few weeks as keen holiday-makers booked a weekend away.
Many local businesses have reported the long weekend being the busiest they've had since the onset of the pandemic.
Manager of Noosa Caravan Park in Tewantin, Brooke Long said the long weekend had been fabulous for business, with their 85 caravan sites and cabins completely booked out.
She described it as an "absolute madhouse".
"We had a lot of people come on Thursday who came in bit earlier to beat the traffic, then even more on Friday," she said.
"There's been lots of kids and lots of people in the pool which is awesome to see because we've had such a good weekend weatherwise.
"Everyone's had a ball, it's been great."
Ms Long said it's been great to see visitors travelling throughout their own state to boost tourism, with the majority of guests from Brisbane.
Sharyn Smith, manager of Big4 Maroochy River, said they had been flat out for the whole long weekend, with the phones ringing off the hook as soon as it was announced the Ekka would be cancelled.
"People are just really happy to be able to get away for the weekend," she said.
"And this weekend has been perfect, besides the small storm but that only lasted ten minutes.
"People are just rapt to be coming to the Sunshine Coast again and we are rapt to have them here."
Ms Smith said the 30 sites and 12 cabins the site held had been consistently booked over the past couple of months, which was a promising sign.
Similarly, owner of Ocean View Tourist Park in Landsborough, Beverley Jones, said they had to turn many people away over weekend.
She said it was a welcomed financial boost for the business.
"We haven't allowed ourselves to be fully booked because we have been very careful about adhering to social distancing," she said.
Ms Jones said visitors who needed to stay for a minimum of three nights due to COVID-19 regulations had enjoyed the area, with many families with children staying at the park and heading to the zoo.
"Everyone's been over the moon about getting to the Coast," she said.
"Financials are definitely down but we're happy with the ways things are going.
"We're lucky that we have loyal clientele, but we miss the Victorians, South Australians and West Australians as they would make up most of the people we normally have at this time of the year."
Many businesses are hoping the booming long weekend trade will help make up for the COVID-19 shutdown, which continues to cripple businesses.