Crowds at this year’s Festival of Sails event immediately returned to pre-pandemic levels, with 30,000 people flocking to Suttons Beach to celebrate Easter.
Mayor Peter Flannery says it was a spectacular recovery that surpassed everyone’s expectations.
“I was expecting a small bounce-back but this was just incredible. We couldn’t have hoped for a better boost to business confidence after the devastating effects of COVID and recent flooding,” Mayor Flannery says.
“I’m so proud to see that the Moreton Bay brand is still so strong, with people flocking to our region for free entertainment, markets, swimming, picnicking and just having wholesome family fun on our foreshore.
“With two more long weekends coming up I’m definitely hoping to see local venues and accommodation providers packed out.”
Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism CEO Shane Newcombe says with both state and international borders now open, visiting friends and relatives would be a lucrative market locally.
“It’s really starting to feel like things are getting back to normal, which is critical for confidence in our business sector on the road to economic recovery,” he says.
“I’m optimistic after seeing the latest Australian Bureau of statistics data this week that showed an extra 37,000 jobs had been created in Queensland’s tourism sector over the past year.
“To top off a massive weekend of local trade, the weather conditions for Festival of Sails were just perfect, so it was an outstanding day for everyone.”
Redcliffe Markets operator Mark Power says it was one of the busiest days on record in terms of patron attendees, vendor sales, and neighbouring business engagement.
“Those businesses that stayed open for the public holidays enjoyed huge sales, especially the food and beverage providers,” he says.
“The whole peninsula was just pumping. It was a joy watch families moving between the Suttons Beach events precinct and the Redcliffe Parade foreshore for our markets. It was almost surreal after everything we’ve been through over the past two years.
“We received tremendous feedback at the markets info desk and a lot of the patrons were visitors from the Brisbane and Sunshine Coast catchment, so these events have real pull.”
The Komo and Belvedere Hotel Manager Chris Allison says the Easter weekend was fantastic for the two venues.
“We were able to produce near record numbers for our lunchtime services from Saturday through to Monday, with a noticeable influx of day trippers combining with our core customer base to create a really dynamic experience,” he says.
“Most pleasingly we have noticed the presence of interstate tourists in numbers not seen since the pre-COVID period, creating great optimism for the weeks and months ahead.”
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