News

Rainbow steps into the future

Tourists on Rainbow Beach.
Tourists on Rainbow Beach. Renee Pilcher

RAINBOW Beach businesses want big government out of the way so their town can grow naturally into its new role as a regional tourism leader.

The town's Commerce and Tourism Association president, Scott Elms, yesterday described "turmoil" in a collapsing Hervey Bay tourism sector as a sign that visitors were making a legitimate and informed choice to visit Rainbow Beach instead.

This was natural business competition, he said.

He warned against government interference, in the face of a recent promise made in Hervey Bay by Premier Campbell Newman.

Mr Newman promised help for embattled sections of the tourist industry across Queensland.

But Mr Elms said there was a risk that help for Hervey Bay would disadvantage Rainbow Beach.

"They would be robbing Peter to pay Paul," he said.

Mr Elms said Rainbow had suffered enough already from government domination of its economy and land use.

Hervey Bay had grown, not because it was superior, but because it had freehold land and the government had not stopped it.

Hervey Bay was now losing the battle because tourists were choosing Rainbow instead.

It was a choice they were entitled to make. "You can't force them to holiday at Hervey Bay. We have beaches, national park bushwalking and faster access to Fraser Island.

"We are a natural tourism leader and we are the real gateway to Fraser.

"Hervey Bay needs to accept that, apart from whale watching season, it is not a tourist destination, it's a retirement village," he said.

The departure of one tour operator from Hervey Bay led to a domino effect this week, with a major backpackers and several other businesses closing in Hervey Bay as a result.

THE Mary Valley is not the only part of the Gympie region to be crippled by government interference, according to Rainbow Beach Commerce and Tourism Association president Scott Elms.

But somehow the Beach was surviving times which set off a string of business collapses in Hervey Bay.

"Things are tight in Rainbow, but so far we've avoided the significant contraction of business which has occurred in other tourism centres, including Cairns, Hervey Bay and Airlie Beach."

The Fraser Coast Chronicle yesterday reported the mass departure of big backpacking operators from Hervey Bay.

The contagious closures crippling the tourism industry are not only hurting the high end of town but punishing smaller operators who rely on backpackers to boost trade, the Chronicle reported.

"Seven higher-profile operators have left the region accompanied by three other providers - including Next Backpackers which closed on Saturday taking 100 hostel beds from the Fraser Coast," the paper reported.

That closure caused "a ripple through the ranks of tour service providers and agents," fording the Hervey Bay closure of businesses Peter Pans, Bay 4x4 and Tribal Travel.

Mango Eco Tourist Hostel owner Phil Rogers said while visitor numbers had contracted in the region, his operation was still trading profitably.

He said the more appealing destination to international backpackers appeared to be Rainbow Beach - which had seen growth while Hervey Bay's industry had declined.

Conspiracy theories abound to explain Rainbow's sudden good fortune, but Mr Elms said it was about time after years of hard times for the seaside township.

Gympie Times

Topics:  backpackers, rainbow beach, tourism, tourist



For Probus age is only a number

Probus regional liaison officer for the Wide Bay Pam Carlson is encouraging retired people to help the fight against ageism.

Probus is asking retirees to help fight ageism.

Town planner Greg Martoo blasts Gympie town plan

CLARITY NEEDED: A veteran Gympie town planner says the Gympie region plan is too vague

Senior town planner says Gympie plan is too vague

Artists from around the state 'rush' to Gympie

RUSH OF ENTRIES: Gympie artist Ken Gailer's Evening Skies which won the Open Section of last year's Rush Art Competition. Come and see the winners along with the variety of subjects and mediums at this year's Rush Art Competition at the Gympie Regional Gallery from Wednesday, October 5 to Saturday, October 22.

What's happening at the Gympie Regional Gallery this week

Local Partners

Sludge metal heaven served up across Australia

Black Rheno bring their stripped back sludge metal through regional Australia.

Black Rheno to hit a town near you

Prog metal upstarts to tour Australia

Caligula’s Horse, one of the country’s most exciting and innovative progressive bands, will hit the road for a national tour in November.

Australian prog masters announce national tour

Debra Messing wants to do a 'naughty' Will and Grace reunion

'Will & Grace' star Debra Messing wants a "naughty" reunion

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie 'working on custody agreement'

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are thrashing out a custody agreement

10 of the worst wedding day disasters

Getting hitched without a hitch. That's the aim, right?

Trump's comments make light of statutory rape

Trevor Noah has gone to town on Donald Trump's sexism

Builder and roofer are cleared in faded roof case

CLEARED: a Gympie builder has been cleared of blame for sunscreen damage to a roof.

Gympie builder cleared over sunscreen damage claim

Beach-side real estate starts at $85k on Fraser Coast

HERVEY BAY REAL ESTATE: You can buy this townhouse in Scarness for under $300k.

Live your beach-living dream locally.

Gympie Century 21 owner forges his own path

ON THE ROAD TO SUCCESS: Billy Mitchell (right) with Queensland franchise manager at Century 21, Glenn Stanton.

It's been a meteoric rise over the past few years for Billy Mitchell

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Huge Gunalda service station set to open by December

NEW STATION: The Gunalda Service Centre, owned by United Petroleum, will include a 350-seat eating area and a truckers lounge.

The massive servo is the biggest United development in Queensland.

Highway upgrade drives momentum in affordable market

Accessibility and affordability are keeping interest high