Uplifting travel trend boosts business after border closure
WITH rooms virtually fully booked both last weekend and the coming weekend, a Bowen business owner has been uplifted by a promising travel trend despite the Queensland border to New South Wales being slammed shut.
Travellers within a few hours' drive of Bowen are making the trip to explore their surrounding areas, while some visitors are also extending their stay.
Coral Cove Apartments manager Kate Lindsay said the business had received cancellations for September as a result of new restrictions, including a large party from New South Wales.
Some apartment owners who lived interstate were also unable to travel, she said.
"People were quite excited and travelling from Sydney so they specifically purchased the discounted fares," Ms Lindsay said.
"A group of 30 plus chose our area as something unique for a birthday.
"We still do have the blow and we still have long-term clients that come every year (that can't make it) and that can be a challenge."
Ms Lindsay said while this was a hit, she was remaining positive as families and travellers within two or three hours' drive were making the trip to explore Bowen and Horseshoe Bay.
Rooms were virtually booked out last weekend and this weekend as they've seen families and travellers coming through, she said.
"It's been undiscovered and we're finding a number of people returning and booking longer," Ms Lindsay said.
"You've got people that would have gone interstate or would have gone overseas and they're deciding that they want to spend local.
"A number of people, particularly after the last lot of restrictions, were really keen to get out and that really encouraged them to come and stay."
Whitsunday Sands Resort manager Janelle Bender said the business had been quite full as many of the regular New South Wales and Victorian visitors were across the border before restrictions were in place.
Travellers from closer to Bowen, such as Townsville and Mackay, had also been making the trip to take advantage of sites that were available, she said.
"We've got sites available because not all our grey nomads have been able to travel," she said.
"There's usually not much availability in the park because it's packed.
"We've still got vacancies after the long weekend but there are a lot of people just wanting to stay put and not head home.
"A lot of the permanent guys are going to stay here and are going extend their stay."
Both Mrs Bender and Ms Lindsay spoke highly of the fellow businesses in Horseshoe Bay who had been working to support one another.
Ms Lindsay said it had been uplifting to be part of a unique group of businesses in Horseshoe Bay that complemented and supported one another.
Some businesses had been discussing special packages and deals that could be offered between businesses, she said.
"It's been really terrific, the tourism community has been really supportive," she said.
Looking forward to the area's ongoing post-COVID recovery, Ms Lindsay said she would like to see more promotion of assets in the Bowen and Horseshoe area, such as the underwater sculpture trial, and the establishment of more local activities such as a mango festival.