Martin Simons (g/mgr. Fraser Coast Tourism & Events) at the Tourist Information Centre. Photo: Alistair Brightman
Martin Simons (g/mgr. Fraser Coast Tourism & Events) at the Tourist Information Centre. Photo: Alistair Brightman

Why Coast is one of state’s most popular spots this weekend

THE State Government's decision to shift the Ekka long weekend is set to pay off for the Fraser Coast.

Martin Simons, general manager of Fraser Coast Tourism & Events, said beachside accommodation and resorts in Hervey Bay were booked out and there were plenty of bookings in Maryborough for the Fraser Coast Expo which is being held at the Maryborough Showgrounds.

Mr Simons said the region was listed as the fourth most popular destination on Wotif, only behind Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.

"Tours are very busy this week, extra tours have been put on," he said.

"People are wanting pristine environments, great beaches.

"The borders closing does impact the RV and caravan sector, but we are very fortunate to be where we are.

"This weekend will rate up there with school holiday weekends."

This weekend is set to deliver a $500 million bonanza for the Queensland tourism industry.

More than three million Queenslanders are getting away for the long weekend generated by a shift in the traditional Ekka and Gold Coast Show holidays.

From whale watching tours at Hervey Bay to weekends away at Tangalooma, Queenslanders are preparing to flock across the state en masse, with bookings for some destinations on travel giant Wotif up by more than 100 per cent on the same time last year.

It was initially hoped the long weekend could generate up to $1 billion for the state's tourism industry, but the ban on NSW and Victorian visitors has effectively halved the number of travellers.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Daniel Gschwind said it was a long-overdue piece of good news for operators reeling from the most challenging of circumstances.

"The bookings we are seeing are extraordinary," he said.

Wotif managing director Daniel Finch said figures on the travel website showed Queenslanders had responded to the long weekend in spectacular fashion.

"It's fantastic to see Queenslanders are making the most of the newly-created people's long weekend and embracing a local adventure, that not only provides them with a well-deserved break but also supports the state's tourism industry, at a time when they need it most," he said.