Businesses in Queensland’s outback are reporting a slow start to the tourist season, which traditionally begins over the Easter long weekend.
- Outback tourism has boomed as international borders have been closed for travel
- Slow start to tourist season blamed on recent road closures following April rains
- Tourists must tighten their budgets as fuel prices continue to rise
With international border closures halting overseas travel plans, a record number of domestic travelers have taken the opportunity to explore Australia in the past two years.
But this year, tourism providers have been hit by a sharp drop.
They said they fear the rising cost of fuel will change the face of outback tourism.
“It was hectic last year and we had 10 to 12 caravans here a day,” said Mary-Ellen Blacket, owner of Boulia Caravan Park in the northwest of the state.
Parts of western Queensland were soaked by record rainfall in late April, leading to road closures for weeks between outback towns such as Winton and Boulia.
“I think with all the rain a lot of people are stuck in the south with all the water there and then it rained here so it’s extremely difficult for people to travel,” she said. declared.
High fuel prices mean tourists are pinching pennies
Des and Michele Thompson, from Brisbane, are seasoned caravanners and travel through the outback of Queensland.
But as high fuel prices continued to drive up the cost of the trek, they said they were keeping an eye on their budget.
Karen Chopping is a travel agent at one of Boulia’s most popular tourist attractions, the Min Min Meeting.
She said one of the main concerns of travelers she spoke to was the cost of fuel.
“People who are starting to think about travel, it’s starting to become part of their overall view of travel because fuel has increased dramatically over the past few weeks,” Ms Chopping said.
Ms Blacket said she has noticed an increase in the number of travelers staying at free campsites.
“There is definitely an increase in tourists not paying for paid campsites and opting for the cheaper option instead,” she said.