Coast tourism operators braced for Schoolies surge
Prepare for a Schoolies Week surge in Noosa with 500 of these COVID-19 impacted graduates already booked into for late November to early December stays.
That's the buzz in the Noosa accommodation sector as local authorities like Noosa Police and the special Schoolies Red Frog squads start mustering to make their stays memorable and as safe as possible.
Tourism Noosa is planning a campaign for accommodation properties to promote tours and experiences for Schoolies visitors during their stay.
Tourism Noosa has sent out a briefing update to all its members after meeting late last week with Noosa Council, Noosa Police, Red Frogs, Schoolies.com and the Hastings Street Association to discuss potential issues around the annual school leaver period.
Noosa Holiday Accommodation Association chair Finola Thompson said local lettings to Schoolies were expecting a spike due to the interstate and international travels bans.
"They can't go to Byron at the moment, they can't go to Bali, the events at the Gold Coast have been cancelled so there are more Schoolies looking to where they want to go," the Coral Beach Noosa Resort operator said.
"I think most of our members are reporting an increased amount of inquiries for Schoolies."
She said her members had flagged this expected influx early to the council and Tourism Noosa who had responded to help everyone prepare for the influx.
"I think everyone is trying make sure feedback is going back into council and letting them know there is a much stronger level of interest this year than it normally has," Ms Thompson said.
"There will be a lot of resorts that won't take Schoolies, that will be part of the agreement with their (unit) owners, they've maybe had bad experiences in the past.
"Some resorts are more set-up for it, they'll get increased security in. It really isn't a one size fits all, different businesses will be making their own decisions."
The Noosa International on Noosa Hill had already sold seven nights stays from between $505 to $399 per night per person, according to the Schoolies online booking website.
This did not include a bond of $200 per person. A non-refundable deposit of $150 per person is required.
Tourism Noosa is advising Schoolies accommodation operators to prepare a fact sheet laying out COVID-19 Safe house rules to provide at booking or check-in.
"With interstate and international border restrictions in place, Noosa already has around 500 Schoolies bookings," the Tourism Noosa's update said.
"Licensed venues are reminded that more than half of school leavers this year will be aged 18 plus, more than in previous years due to changes in school admissions, and legally allowed to drink in licensed premises.
"With COVID-19 restrictions, you are asked to be aware of numbers gathering around your venues."
The Red Frogs teams, which provide free support for school leavers aimed at harm prevention, will be in Noosa, Peregian and Coolum connecting with Schoolies in their rooms and on the street.
"They offer COVID-safe in-room pancake cook-ups, room visits, walks home and emotional support.
"Red Frogs will also offer briefings and tips to accommodation operators in the lead-up to Schoolies."
Noosa Police are formulating a local response to ensure compliance with COVID-19 restrictions and community expectations.
Ms Thompson said her Noosaville resort was booked fully for the Father's Day weekend just gone, but the numbers of stays during the week continue to be softer.
Local holiday haunts like the beach are likely to be busy with Friday's Noosa Country Show holiday creating another long weekend for locals at least.
Dates for Schoolies weeks
Queensland: Friday, November 20 to Friday November 27
Interstate (subject to COVID-restrictions): Friday, November 27 to Friday, December 4.