‘Heartbreaking’ decision as popular Noosa festival cancelled
THE popular Noosa Eat and Drink Festival due to be held in May has been cancelled, Tourism Noosa have confirmed.
The decision came as Tourism Noosa's board met following the Federal Government announcement of non-essential mass gatherings being banned across the country as a result of COVID-19.
Noosa Eat and Drink Festival Director Sheridah Puttick said the decision was "heartbreaking" but the right call in light of the current pandemic.
"The news of the cancellation is heartbreaking, and will no doubt be a disappointment to so many," Ms Puttick said.
"This year's festival was set to be a true celebration of Australian talent and we are incredibly proud of the program that had been developed with our industry".
"We understand what everyone is going through at this time, it is a very challenging situation and we will continue to connect with the people we work with to support each other in the coming months."
Tourism Noosa CEO Melanie Anderson said while it was not an outcome they hoped for, health and safety must come first and they would offer refunds for already purchased tickets.
"The festival is a vital part of Noosa's tourism economy but the health and safety of our residents and visitors must come first," Ms Anderson said.
"Our festival team will work through ticketing arrangements with full refunds being provided for guests over the oncoming weeks".
Tourism Noosa's board met early this week to also discuss and implement a short term plan to support the local tourism sector.
"It is really important that we prepare for what is in store for our region, and for businesses to review and implement health and safety plans, look at business forecasts and budget accordingly for the predicted fallout and slow period," Ms Anderson said.
"Right now our priority is to provide support for our industry."
"We cannot take this situation lightly."
As part of a four to six-month plan, Tourism Noosa will have a nominated contact for their membership base.
"This will enable us to have strong lines of communication to each sector, where members can raise questions, concerns, issues or just have a forum for discussions to keep connected".
"We have also created a dedicated page on our website for members and businesses of Noosa with up-to-date information, links, business relief, tips for the tourism industry, frequently asked questions and other information relating to COVID-19.
"This is our key communication tool and we recommend operators should be checking this regularly".
"We are continuing to work very closely with Tourism & Events Queensland, Government Departments and relevant authorities, and through our Toolkit page will provide our industry with the latest information to help with their business planning at this time".
"Our marketing team are also planning initiatives to roll out when the crisis period has passed and we will be ready and well prepared to guide and support our industry in these challenging times."
For ticket holders, details on full refunds will be available shortly at ww.noosaeatdrink.com.au.