23 Jun KATTER CALLS ON TOURISTS TO “GET UP TO THE GULF”
North Queensland’s tourism season is well underway, but small local businesses are reporting one of the slowest starts in years with visitors merely trickling through the doors.
The continuous rising cost of living combined with the prospect of international travel following COVID-19 and incorrect information regarding road conditions were reported as reasons why tourism wasn’t booming in the North, but Katter’s Australian Party Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter was urging travellers to make the trip.
“North West Queensland and the Gulf country have had a horrid start to the year with flooding,” he said.
“Many businesses have been torn apart and forced to rebuild. These same businesses have gone months without seeing a tourist step foot through their doors.”
Yvonne Tunney, owner of Ash’s @ The Point Café in Karumba, expressed her concerns regarding the slow start.
“There’s no doubt that people are travelling overseas now that they can, tour bus groups are down because of this, so we’re seeing tours being dropped,” she said.
“Overseas travel in conjunction with the rising cost of living are both affecting us, but unfortunately, (they’re) things we have no control over.
“People’s conception in relation to the floods is something we have control over, however is something that has been poorly managed.”
Ms Tunney said that despite the fact most businesses had fully recovered from the flooding, and roads up towards the Gulf had been open and driveable for months, websites such as RACQ were reporting otherwise.
“People considering making the trip North take one look at the website and immediately change their plans,” she said.
“Our tourism season is starting later and finishing much earlier than it used to, which is a real concern.
“It’s not just a concern for us as business operators, it’s a concern for the employees we can’t afford to keep on, and a concern for suppliers when our orders take a plunge; it affects everyone.”
Ms Tunney said it was disappointing to see the tourism season wasted when conditions were perfect up their way.
“The bird life is amazing, the fishing has never been better and the weather is sensational,” she said.
Mr Katter said he had made contact with RACQ and the Department of Transport and Main Roads about ensuring websites were correctly updated and urged anyone with time to spare this tourist season to “get up to the Gulf”.