Yasi blows away Mon Repo visits
QUEENSLAND’S wild weather is continuing to batter the Bundaberg tourism industry, with operators reporting constant cancellations and the number of visitors to Mon Repos Turtle Rookery dropping by 50%.
Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism general manager James Corvan said the flooding and new cyclone threats had visitors running scared.
“People were just beginning to stop cancelling their plans to come to Bundaberg after the floods and now they’re cancelling because of this cyclone (Yasi), even though it’s so far north,” Mr Corvan said.
“The cancellations had just stopped and now we’ve been dealt another blow.”
Mr Corvan said the region’s main tourism source markets in South East Queensland were still recovering after their own bad weather.
“They’re just getting their lives back together, even the ones that weren’t affected,” he said.
“We’re not alone in this, though – everyone is struggling and our southern market has really been scared off.”
Mr Corvan said it was very disappointing to see the number of turtle rookery visitors drop by 50%.
“It’s frustrating because we’re having the best turtle numbers in 30 years,” he said.
“We will get a lot of hatchlings between now and March so hopefully we’ll have people here to watch that.”
Mr Corvan said he had never experienced a tourism slump like this.
“I’ve been through 9/11, the financial crisis, Y2K, the Ansett collapse – but I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said.
“This is the hardest of the lot.”
Mr Corvan said he expected Bundaberg’s tourism industry to make a full recovery, but he did not know how long it would take.
“We have a lot of promotions ready to go, but we just have to get the timing right,” he said.
“It’s hard when there are still images of floods and cyclones everywhere.”