Inskip booking error gives industry false hope
COOLOOLA Coast tourism operators have been dealt another blow by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, after an error implied there were around 500 extra spaces available at Inskip Point.
Cooloola Coast Beach Traders owner Martine Lokan said that last Friday morning, the QPWS booking site mistakenly increased the visitor cap to 760.
"We check the booking sites every day, and at nine (am) it showed 200, so it must have been around 10-10.30 that it changed to 760," she said.
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"I spoke to Parks (QPWS) and they said it was a clerical error and was changed back.
"Teewah Beach did increase by 50 people to 730, though.
"There are also people in Rainbow Beach accommodation who are unable to access Double Island Point - they can't even get day passes."
Ms Lokan said the visitor numbers at Inskip Point had been capped at 200 until June 27, when the campsite would be divided into seven distinct campsites with individual caps.
This comes as a blow to tourism operators in the region, especially in the lead-up to school holidays.
The booking site currently displays a cap of just under 400 visitors for the whole of Inskip Point from June 27, still well below the normal capacity of 2300.
Last week, the Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Leeanne Enoch, said Queenslanders had done a great job in containing the spread of COVID-19, so the government would be making it easier for campers and caravaners to plan their holidays over the next year.
"It's obvious that people are eager to get out into nature, with more than 10,600 camping bookings and more than 5000 vehicle access permits issued since bookings reopened," Ms Enoch said.
"We've had a huge take-up from people wanting to book their next outdoor adventure, and this important update will provide extra certainty to commercial operators and the tourism industry so they can continue to employ more people and drive economic recovery, particularly in our regions."
Since last Saturday, Queenslanders have been able to book most campsites in national parks up to 12 months in advance, but operators say these changes are not coming quick enough.
"These school holidays will be a write-off for us," Ms Lokan said.
"We won't recover until numbers are up again, maybe at the Christmas holidays."