Tourism chief braces for bushfire backlash on the Coast
TOURISM operators on the Sunshine Coast are preparing to promote the best of what the region has to offer in anticipation of a decline in visitors due to the recent bushfire devastation.
Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford said it was possible tourists from overseas may associate the impact of bushfires from down south with the Coast region.
"The biggest concern for the future is that international visitors might apply the fire situation in the southern states to the whole of Australia, and therefore some areas that weren't directly caught up in the bushfires will also be affected," he said.
"(But) we will be actively promoting the region's tourism sector over the next few months to ensure any potential fallout is minimised."
Despite the potential dip in tourism for the future, Mr Latchford said the recent summer holiday period for operators on the Coast had been successful.
"Accommodation providers from Noosa to Caloundra have reported strong occupancy rates, with some operators reporting an increase in numbers on the same time last year," he said.
"The good weather we have experienced has contributed to an influx of last-minute bookings."
Tourism Noosa CEO Melanie Anderson said Noosa also experienced improved numbers for operators and accommodation providers compared to last year.
"We have had a fantastic season to date," she said.
"Everyone has had an exceptional season … better than this time last year."
Although visitors did express concern in relation to the current bushfires, Ms Anderson said it hadn't affected Noosa's tourism offerings.
"I think we had a lot of inquiries, particularly from people down south, whether the fires were affecting the area," she said.
"Fortunately, we were able to tell everyone we were open for business … people were assured that Noosa was safe."
Between the natural environment and bustling night-life Noosa has to offer, Ms Anderson said it would be the place to stay leading up to the Australia Day long weekend.
"We're very excited," she said.
"We're expecting an action-packed long weekend at Noosa. I can't wait for visitors to come on in."