Social media, confused news reports and a poor grasp of geography are costing tourism businesses on the Capricorn Coast hundreds of thousand of dollars in the wake of Cyclone Debbie, according to local operators.
Several operators have said that potential visitors in southern markets are confused about the size of Queensland and the state’s geography. They think the Capricorn Coast near Rockhampton was hit by Cyclone Debbie, which it wasn’t.
Debbie slammed into the Whitsundays, which is still recovering, but Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast were struck not by the cyclone but by flooding in the nearby Fitzroy River. This closed Rockhampton airport for a time but the airport has reopened and the Capricorn Coast is open for business.
Paul Ewan, who runs Cool Waters Holiday Park at Kinka Beach on the Capricorn Coast, told ABC News that the holiday park is undamaged, open for business and the weather is fine – yet holiday cancellations have reached AUD 60,000 and other businesses are also suffering.
Ewan blamed misinformation and its spread on social media. He said people’s knowledge of Queensland north of the Sunshine Coast was sketchy.
Local operators are now planning a campaign to attract visitors in the winter months, when it’s still warm enough to walk around in shorts and a T-shirt.
Edited by William Sykes