Business boom: The impact of festival on Airlie traders
DESCRIBED as one of the 'most significant weekends of the year' for traders, the Airlie Beach Festival of Music has brought a business boom to historically one of the quietest periods for the region.
Whitsunday Chamber of Commerce president and Live Life Pharmacy Airlie Beach owner Allan Milostic said the reason behind the noticeable impact on Airlie businesses was because the festival centred on the mainland.
"It has transformed this particular time of year,” he said.
"For Airlie Beach traders, this is one of the most significant weekends of the year.
"It's one of those events where people are staying and spending their money in town and not heading out and spending it elsewhere.
"The figure turnover, it pretty much doubles from what you would usually expect from a weekend's trade at this time of year.”
The Whitsunday Sailing Club is positioned in the ideal location for the festival, with views of the islands and Airlie Beach.
The club's food and beverage manager Stacy Harvey said the club was looking to make up for the affects the Airlie foreshore development had on business earlier in the year.
"The Whitsunday Sailing Club certainly relies on events such as this to help throughout the year,” she said.
"Traditionally November was always really quiet but for the festival to have turned that around and continue to grow is really exciting for businesses here in Airlie Beach.”
With most music events kicking off from around 3pm, Miss Harvey said the Sailing Club was certainly the place to go before the performances started.
"We're expecting bigger than normal crowds in our upstairs bar and we're really looking forward to people coming here and having a few cocktails and some lunch before heading to the main tent.”
As far as places to stay in Airlie Beach during the festival, there are plenty of options for a range of budgets.
Sunlit Waters co-owner Fiona Williamson assigns one of her seven apartments to a performing musician, with the remaining apartments booked out with festival-goers.
She said the festival not only improved business while it was on, but also helped to generate long-term customers who continued to return to the area.
"We get people booking out our apartments for the full four days,” Mrs Williamson said.
"We don't increase our prices during peak hours because we have our customers in mind, and we want to build good relationships with them.
"We see a lot of familiar faces here which is a great feeling because we know we are doing the right thing.”
The Airlie Beach Festival of Music runs from November 8-10.