Whitsundays tourism experiences growth in visitors
WHILE the Whitsundays are celebrating after one of their most successful Christmas tourism periods, Mackay remained quieter.
Mackay Tourism business development officer Melanie Harris said accommodation in the City Centre was quiet, as it had been last year, but the Pioneer Valley had a spike in tourism.
"Some of their retreats were up from last year, with people staying longer," Ms Harris said.
Half of the visitors to the Pioneer Valley were from the Mackay area, she said.
Restaurants, like the Eimeo Pacific Hotel, also saw a spike this festive season.
"They were quite busy - particularly for lunches."
Ms Harris said beachside properties were less popular this year but that was not the case for caravan parks, with several repeat travellers.
"The Visitor Information Centre was up from last year - an extra 35%," she said.
The Whitsundays couldn't be happier with their festive tourism.
Whitsunday Tourism chief executive officer Danial Rochford said many tourism operators were happy with this year's interest.
"Not only in Airlie Beach but the islands and Bowen," Mr Rochford said.
"We experienced growth in interstate visitors."
Mr Rochford said the region also benefited from the "visiting friends and relatives market", with many Whitsunday ex-pats returning to spend Christmas with their loved ones.
"That's very strong around this holiday season," he said.
"Certainly our members have been saying it's been a very positive Christmas and New Year."
The tourism flow came in two waves, he said, the first over Christmas and the second for the New Year period.
"Our members are saying forward bookings are looking strong into January," Mr Rochford said.
"As long as the weather holds out we've got positive days ahead."
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