Motel No Vacancy Sign. Picture: Stewart Mclean  sm055046 p1// Motel No Vacancy Sign. Picture: Stewart Mclean  sm055046
Motel No Vacancy Sign. Picture: Stewart Mclean sm055046 p1// Motel No Vacancy Sign. Picture: Stewart Mclean sm055046

Tourists left in the lurch over Christmas break

WITH Southern Downs businesses shutting down for the year, the age-old question of how to keep the off-season tourist trade alive has once again been fiercely reignited.

Tourism providers have voiced their concerns over widespread holiday closures in the Granite Belt.

Foxbar Falls campground manager Brendon File said it was a fine line to balance but tourists could be missing out as the hospitality sector shut down for a large chunk of the Christmas/ New Years' break.

"The ones we get at the campgrounds are not predominantly fussed about visiting places but when wineries and stuff are closed it can be hard," he said.

"People want to go out for lunch and it's tricky at times."

According to Fair Work Queensland, from 6pm December 24 until December 28, and January 1 all fall under public holiday penalty rates.

Mr File acknowledged for many restaurants, it wasn't a cost they could afford.

"With the wages they have got to pay it's ridiculous, it's just not viable for a lot of them and I can completely understand that," he said.

"If there was a way to co-ordinate openings it would be good but that's hard because there's so many.

"When you're not making money, why would you open?"

 

Granite Belt campsite Foxbar Falls.
Granite Belt campsite Foxbar Falls.

Despite concerns, Mr File also said the campground was fully booked from Boxing Day until January 2.

"It is ticking over but we could do better," he said.

Tourism providers previously pleaded in August to have more summer events to keep tourists intrigued.

Stanthorpe Chamber of Commerce president Graham Parker at the time said events could be helpful but organisers were needed.

"If we can have events that are in our lower peak periods, that would be a bit of a bonus, no doubt," he said.

"But it's finding stuff that is appropriate and to the people we want to attract."

 

Want to have your say? Email tessa.flemming@news.com.au

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