Gearing up for school holidays
DESPITE a slow month and a drop in backpacker numbers, Rainbow Beach is gearing up for a busy school holidays.
Rainbow Beach business women Ruth Modin said Rainbow Beach was looking the best it had been for a long time. She said access to Double Island point was now easy with the Mudlo Rocks and ‘the sticks’ on the way to Double Island all open and clear for four wheel drive (4WD) access.
“Mother Nature has done everything we have asked of her,” Mrs Modin said.
“The sand is back over the sticks and the beach is perfect – it should be a wonderful couple of weeks,” she said.
Coastal businesses will welcome an influx of holiday makers for the school holidays after enduring a slow period since Easter. Backpacker visitors to the area have slowed with some industry professionals saying a lot of backpackers have missed Australia this year to attend the Wold Cup in South Africa.
Robyn Atchison from Dingo’s Backpacker Adventure Resort at Rainbow Beach said numbers had definitely slowed on the Cooloola Coast. “It is slower than normal,” Ms Atchison said.
She said some backpackers had diverted to South Africa for the World Cup while others had headed north for warmer weather.
“We normally get 6-8 cars arrive per day we are now down to about 4-5,” she said.
The 30 per cent drop in numbers corresponds to Back Packing Queensland Secretary Drew Pearson’s figures.
He said while Tourism Australia statistics showed an increase in youth travellers from 2008 to 2009 from 30 to 32 per cent of Australia’s international visitors, the 2010 market had slumped.
“Backpacking numbers are down about 30 per cent, and the market is suffering its biggest downturn in many years,” Mr Pearson said.
“Backpackers normally contribute around $3 billion to Australia’s economy annually, so you can see what damage a major drop in numbers will do,” he said.
Liz McKenzie from Fraser’s on Rainbow Beach was more optimistic, saying this time of year was historically slower for the backpacking business.