Comm Games' 'black magic' effect on Coast tourism

HOPE is mounting for a strong Easter long weekend for tourism operators, as the Sunshine Coast’s tourism body pushes to attract Commonwealth Games tourists to fill lagging April bookings. data has revealed the Sunshine Coast was Queensland’s second-most popular destination in Queensland for accommodation searches during the Easter holiday period.

The Gold Coast claimed the top spot, as bookings peak during the Commonwealth Games, But Mooloolaba was declared the fastest growing destination with nearly 130 per cent more searches for the Easter period than the same time last year.

Searches for both Noosa and Caloundra increased almost 25 per cent.

Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford said the results were “exciting”, and said reports from accommodation providers and airlines indicated bookings for the Easter long weekend school holidays were looking strong.

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He was more concerned about slow bookings later in April, and while some of that was down to an unusually early Easter, he said even tourism bodies were unsure how the Commonwealth Games would affect visitation on the Sunshine Coast.

“This is new country for us in Queensland, and it’s going to have positive and negative effects on typical consumer purchasing patterns,” Mr Latchford said.

“I think we’ve got to call it black magic.

“All of Queensland is just a little bit odd after the Commonwealth Games period.”

Visit Sunshine Coast has launched extra advertising in northern New South Wales, Brisbane and particularly in the Gold Coast in an effort to tempt tourists into making last-minute plans for a more relaxing holiday after the Commonwealth Games.

“We’re hoping at the end of the Commonwealth Games we can get the other bookend,” Mr Latchford said.

Mr Latchford said another boost could come from Brisbane and Gold Coast residents looking to escape the crowds in a Sunshine Coast getaway.

“Logically you’d expect that,” he said.