20 April, 2021
Tourists hit Longreach
A SURGE in tourists arriving in the Central West district over the past week has seen pubs, motels and tour groups booked out.
Last Friday a charter flight from Cairns arrived with over 75 tourists.
‘Tour De Longreach’ was a tour organised by Mercedes Gonzales Travel which is one of the leading travel agencies in Cairns.
Owner and operator of the agency, Mercedes Gonzales said the tour group was looking forward to exploring all Longreach’s attractions and meeting all the local folks.
“We planned this trip about four months ago, as it is a destination that a lot of people really want to go to,” said Ms Gonzales.
“We are really looking forward to meeting the locals, I think the best part about the whole thing is the country people.
“We just feel really happy that we are able to support Queenslanders especially during this time.
“We are a fully booked out tour group with 74 Cairns businesspeople, and it is really nice to be able to give back to another area of Queensland,” said Ms Gonzales.
Jacqui Nolan and Mercedes Gonzales were supporting their best country attire at lunch at The Wellshot Hotel. PHOTOS: Kate Kiernan
With the international border closed, many Australians are taking the opportunity to explore parts of the outback during the cooler months.
Longreach Mayor Tony Rayner said there had been many positive reports from businesses around town.
“It’s plain to see what an impact the visitor economy makes on our community,” said Cr Rayner.
“For the most part it seems people have been getting the message about booking ahead, and we’re not seeing quite as many people being turned away.
“Despite the great new product that has been developed, we still hit capacity constraints at peak times, so there’s room for even more private investment in our growing tourism industry.
“Our visitor economy still has plenty of opportunities to offer the smart investor,” said Cr Rayner.
The Longreach Tavern owner Kim Trad said the past few weeks had been a positive start to the season.
“It has been busy since Easter, it is almost like a tap was turned on, on the Saturday of Easter holidays, it was amazing,” said Ms Trad.
"I think it is the benchmark for the rest of the season and if we continue to have this nice weather, people will hang about.
“In the past we have had a bit of a boosted Easter and then things die off until May, but I think with COVID and restricted travel there won't be that lull as people are travelling in their own backyard.”
While some businesses have been overwhelmed with the start to the season, others are still waiting on the surge.
Saltbush Retreat Manger, Rebecca Lancelotti said some travelers had cancelled or moved their bookings after Queensland restrictions were enforced.
“We had a lot of movement with the bookings after the Brisbane lockdown, because people don’t have the confidence to travel at times,” she said.
“We are hoping that it will pick up and we do have some good forward bookings, but things do change depending on if there are any future lockdowns.
“At the moment things are looking good and we are hoping that we are going to make up the loss that COVID incurred last year.
“We have an amazing town and community, and we hope that it’s a wonderful year for all businesses in town,” said Ms Lancelotti.