Popular tourism strips reports ‘quiet’ Christmas
THE effect that coronavirus will have on the Noosa tourism industry is not yet known.
The first confirmed case of novel coronavirus in Queensland was announced on Wednesday and much of the country is on alert due to the potentially deadly disease.
Local schools have advised students who have been overseas, to China specifically, to not attend until they receive clearance from their doctors.
The state’s first confirmed case is a 44-year-old Chinese national from Wuhan, who had been staying at a Gold Coast resort.
In Australia, seven cases have been confirmed. Worldwide, the number has exceeded 6000.
Off the back of an interrupted and “quieter than usual” tourism season due to the national bushfire crisis, it’s unknown if this latest health outbreak will impact Noosa’s tourism hotspot of Hastings St.
The beachside strip looks to be in for a “soft” February, according to Hastings Street Association president Emma Hull.
While locals and holiday-makers were still visiting, Ms Hull said it was “quiet in the street” compared with other years, with a noticeable decrease in day-trippers.
She said speaking with other members throughout the popular holiday strip, it was revealed expenditure was down.
“This is my fourth Christmas in the street but I really think numbers for day-trippers were down,” Ms Hull said.
“I’ve been speaking to businesses and they said inventory was down.”
“The day visitors really help and are an important interjection in the shire for retailers and smaller eateries, they were really finding it difficult.”
Ms Hull did commend Noosa Council on their transport efforts for keeping traffic flowing smoothing through the often congested area.
“I have to commend council’s transport strategy, that Noosa branded loop bus was fantastic.
“So were the stop and go guys along Noosa Parade and Hastings Street,” she said.
She noted Australia’s recent bushfires may have contributed to low numbers as people may have been reluctant to travel, but said it was hard to know the exact reason.
While February is typically a quieter time, Ms Hull said this year the month was looking “soft” for bookings at Emerald Noosa.
“February is always a quiet time but we are substantially down on bookings.
“Our next big event is The Festival of Surfing in March but bookings for then are already down compared to last year.
“This might have to do with coronavirus and the bushfire among other things, but its hard to speculate a cause.”
“We want people to know we are very much open for business,” Ms Hull said.