Eclipse on the horizon
WHILE the debate is going on about what sort of major event Cairns needs to attract thousands of visitors, an international happening is already on the schedule.
On November 14, 2012, Cairns will be prime real estate for those wanting to see a total eclipse of the sun.
The path of the moon across the sun will take it across northern Australia with Cairns rated the best location for eclipse viewers.
The eclipse - which will last two minutes - will occur just after sunrise at 6.39am after which it will move out across unpopulated areas of the South Pacific.
Advance Cairns has already jumped on to the occasion and wants to hear about any activities planned for the eclipse.
Solar eclipses are major international happenings and communities throughout the world have turned them into big events.
What do you think? Could the eclipse be the major event Cairns needs? Post your comment below.
In 2002 more than 40,000 gathered outside Ceduna on the South Australian coast to witness the total eclipse, with some sources saying thousands of the watchers were from overseas.
The next total eclipse is due today with the path crossing China and the South Pacific and cruise lines have been doing great business from passengers wanting to experience the brief encounter.
In Shanghai, hotels offering special eclipse packages were booked out well in advance by guests from Japan, the United States and Europe.
Shanghai Sculpture Park, one of the best viewing locations in the city, has sold more than 2000 tickets, which include special glasses and a commemorative T-shirt.
The 2010 solar eclipse which will pass over the Cook Islands, near Tahiti and directly over Easter Island which has already seen cruises almost completely booked.
Advance Cairns regional development officer Margaret Darveniza said the organisation and TTNQ were already working on a strategy to maximise the potential the eclipse offered.
Ms Darveniza said a commercial operation was already planning an event - possibly a festival - on the Tablelands to coincide with the eclipse.
"We have to look at what value adds we can think of to go with any events," Ms Darveniza said.
"For example, if there are events on the Tablelands, they will need transport and people will be flying in through Cairns."
Ms Darveniza said she had already been in touch with tourist officials in Ceduna about what they did and said she was confident this region could attract far more tourists and watchers than the remote South Australian town did.
For more information, visit the Eclipse Down Under website.
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The path the 2012 eclipse will take as it crosses Far North Queensland.
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