TEA Gardens and Hawks Nest enjoyed an influx of visitors over the June long weekend, helping to restimulate the struggling tourism and hospitality industries that have suffered due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions.
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Regional travel was allowed as of 1 June and holiday makers made the most of the opportunity flocking to the area in large numbers.
Drew Humphreys, the manager of the Tea Gardens Ice Cream Shack commented, “The town is alive and it is fantastic to see people enjoying themselves.”
Michelle Atkinson, the owner of the Hawks Nest Motel mirrored the sentiment. Ms Atkinson had only taken over ownership of the Motel on 14 February and had been operating with minimal guests until the recent long weekend.
She said,“It was great to see a full car park. We were at ninety nine percent”.
Although the volume of visitors to the area was promising, all business owners and managers who spoke to News Of The Area agreed it was not yet enough to recoup profits lost during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Ms Atkinson explained, “We have a long way to go before we can recoup what we have lost.”
“We need constancy, the weekend was the exception but there are dribs of bookings coming through now.”
Mr Humphreys agreed “It wasn’t enough to make up for the loss we have had over the last eight weeks, but it definitely helped.”
“Over the last weekend we were very busy, it was basically like Christmas time.”
When asked how it felt to be able to travel regionally again, tourist Jan Remington, who was holidaying at Jimmys Beach Holiday Park said, “I can’t even put it into words, I am just so excited.” When asked if they were worried about transmissions of COVID-19, holidaymaker Ian Frith said he called the holiday park ahead of time and was assured protective measures were in place, “We were asked to fill out a declaration confirming we were not at risk of transmitting the disease.”
By Brooke LYNCH