Mikat skipper Ken Smith with crew members Mick McAndrew, Jodie Kirkwood and John Dickie await passengers.
Mikat skipper Ken Smith with crew members Mick McAndrew, Jodie Kirkwood and John Dickie await passengers. Alistair Brightman

Rain puts dent in tourism industry

LAST week’s heavy rain badly affected tourism businesses on the Fraser Coast but the Bureau of Meteorology has forecast clearing skies in the coming days.

With consistent rainfall through the week in the region and across south-east Queensland, tourists stayed at home leaving vacancy signs on local hotels and resorts and empty berths on whale watching vessels.

Even though the rain eased on Sunday, it was too late to save the weekend for local whale watch operator Bill Geldard.

“We were affected very badly by the rain,” Mr Geldard said.

“Compared to the same weekend for previous years, we were down 50%.”

He said there were a number of last-minute cancellations due to the weather, particularly from Brisbane where potential visitors presumably looked out their window at the bucketing rain and an unfavourable forecast for the Fraser Coast and decided not to get in their cars and drive up.

Michael Knepp from the Bureau of Meteorology said the wet weather should be clearing up.

“While there are showers and thunderstorms forecast for the wide bay area until Tuesday, by Wednesday the south-easterly winds should be clearing things up and there are only isolated coastal showers expected,” he said.

Mr Geldard said local tourist businesses would be hoping for clear skies leading up to the busy September holiday period.