Local tourism outlook bright after best trading period since financial crisis
THE region's tourism industry is looking forward to a bumper off-peak season as the traditional holiday period ends its best trading since the global financial crisis.A survey of more than 100 operators is confident of continuing buoyant business through to March next year.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief executive officer Rob Giason said the good season and promising forward projections were "long overdue."
He said the season had been extended with a busy September and October expected to be "big as well."
"There's been a lot more air traffic. The indications are good, there is a lot of optimism," Mr Giason said.
"The future is looking very rosy with the Chinese services providing the optimism.
"Next year's Chinese New Year is expected to be big ... probably the best ever."
The Compass Research monthly barometer from 102 operators found that returns for September "continued the positive results from March onwards with almost all elements of the industry being up."
Business among holiday units was the highest, an increase of 16.7 per cent, with hotels of 100 or more rooms up 5.9 per cent.
"Data available to analyse average room rates achieved against the same month a year ago showed almost all sections were up, again indicating that higher visitor numbers could be flowing through to higher yields," the report said.
"Figures available to compare forward bookings this year with this time last year indicate almost all occupancy rates up compared with bookings at this time last year."
Land based tours and attractions reported a rise of 7.7 per cent while reef operators were showing nearly 12 per cent growth.
"Forward bookings continue to be stronger than the same time last year across almost all accommodation categories," the report said. "As in last month's report, there is continuing optimism about the rest of the year."
The report said there was an expectation among operators that October would be up on the same month last year by 3.8 per cent and that the November to January period would also be up on the previous year by an average of 3.9 per cent.
Both the accommodation sector and tour operators expect the March quarter 2013 to be up on March quarter 2012 by between 2 and 2.2 per cent.
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Happy days: A survey of more than 100 tourism operators is confident of continuing recent buoyant trading conditions, according to TTNQ CEO Rob Giason. Picture: BRENDAN FRANCIS.