Tourist show time as Ekka break brings in crowds
A bonus Ekka show holiday is helping to take some of the heartache out of a horror year for mum and dad investors who have bought into Noosa holiday units as their major life investment.
According to Noosa Holiday Accommodation Association chair Finola Thompson, the holiday stays she had spoken to were expecting to do "really well" next weekend.
"I think it was a really good move to move the Ekka holiday to give people a chance to have a long weekend," she said.
"It's good from both points of view, it's good for Noosa, but it's also good for our people.
"When our guests come they all say 'I've been dying to get away, I just need a break'."
Ms Thompson, who operates the Coral Beach Noosa resort in Noosaville, expects to be fully booked across the three days, partly making up for a big hole in their usual winter market.
"The reality is Noosa struggles without its winter bookings from Victorians and New Zealanders," Ms Thompson said.
"They might stay four weeks, they might stay 10 weeks, they're kind of avoiding the winter.
"Although we're getting some bookings at weekends with Queenslanders trying to support us, it's nothing like a normal year."
For many unit owners, Ms Thompson said it was their only investment other than their house.
"All of our owners are just mum and dad investors, they're nurses or teachers … they're really struggling to pay their mortgages, so it does have a massive flow-on effect," Ms Thompson said.
"I know we've got some owners who happened to buy just before COVID so you can imagine for them it's very difficult.
However Ms Thompson said the border closures, while regrettable, were for the greater public good.
"Everybody just needs to be safe," she said.
"If we can get Australia under control, if we can get Victoria with little or no COVID numbers, and the same with New South Wales, then that changes the whole picture."
Ms Thompson said they've had to deal with some heartbroken Victorian and New South Wales regulars in recent times.
"We have guests that have been coming for 20 years and they were virtually in tears on the phone. For them it was devastating that they couldn't come," she said.
Ms Thompson said the Ekka holiday surge was just the shot in the arm the restaurants needed.
"Without the people here all the ancillary businesses do it so tough," she said.
"Interestingly we're getting a lot more people coming up from the Gold Coast, it's never traditionally been a market for us, but Gold Coast residents are discovering Noosa.
"They all when they come here say 'it's so lovely'."