MAGIC MISSING: Taylor Dunn at last year’s Mary Poppins Festival.
MAGIC MISSING: Taylor Dunn at last year’s Mary Poppins Festival.

Visitor numbers down as city misses Poppins factor

THE Poppins factor was clearly missing in a quieter than usual Maryborough these school holidays.

Councillor Daniel Sanderson said council-run attractions recorded a drop in visitor numbers compared to last year's July school holidays.

He said the cancellation of the Mary Poppins Festival had a major impact on this drop.

"The number of visitors to the Bond Store and The Story Bank have remained strong during the Queensland school holidays this year, but are down on last year's figures due primarily to the cancellation of the Mary Poppins Festival," Cr Sanderson said.

"Visitor numbers at these venues traditionally peak in the middle weekend of the school holidays when the Mary Poppins Festival is on, and that's where there has been a noticeable difference this year."

PORTSIDE: (L) Councillor Daniel Sanderson and Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour at the Bond Store.
PORTSIDE: (L) Councillor Daniel Sanderson and Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour at the Bond Store.

Cr Sanderson said there were about 1300 visitors to The Story Bank in the 2020 June/July school holidays compared to 1775 for the 2019 school holidays, which included 700 for the Mary Poppins Festival.

"The Bond Store has had just over 300 visitors these school holidays compared to 678 in 2019, which included 477 for the Mary Poppins Festival," he said.

While interstate and overseas visitor numbers predictably dropped due to COVID-19 restrictions, visitors from within Queensland rose.

"About three quarters of visitors to The Story Bank in the 2020 June/July school holidays have come from within a 400 km radius compared to 40 per cent of the visitors in 2019," Cr Sanderson said.

Proud Marys at The Story Bank – (L) Joy Newman, Dianne Grinter and Joanne Jones.
Proud Marys at The Story Bank – (L) Joy Newman, Dianne Grinter and Joanne Jones.

"COVID-19 has changed traditional visitation patterns with more people holidaying closer to home and exploring their local attractions, so any reduction in revenue at these venues is anticipated to be picked up throughout the year.

"It's been wonderful to see so many local residents checking out the fabulous facilities we have in Maryborough, and we encourage more people to explore everything that is on offer in the historic Portside Precinct."

The Bond Store and The Story Bank are operating in line with their COVID Safe plans, which allow a maximum of 20 visitors at any one time, so bookings are required.