Pent-up demand for North Stradbroke Island travel, island businesses say

MINJERRIBAH: The Point Lookout Surf Lifesaving Club, as seen from the Gorge Walk. South-east Queenslanders have kept the island bustling over the school holidays, businesses say.
MINJERRIBAH: The Point Lookout Surf Lifesaving Club, as seen from the Gorge Walk. South-east Queenslanders have kept the island bustling over the school holidays, businesses say.

QUEENSLAND'S borders are opening this week, but it seems Redlanders are staying local, with many people still wary of interstate travel.

North Stradbroke Island - one of the Redlands' main tourist drawcards - has reportedly been in hot demand during the Queensland holidays.

But with the border opening coming midway through the NSW winter break, it remains to be seen how island tourism will be affected.

Minjerribah Camping - owned by the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation - has seen an explosion of bookings, according to QYAC chief executive Cameron Costello.

"There has been almost 100 per cent occupancy of available areas with double the numbers of campers for Flinders and Main Beach camp grounds in June/July compared with last year," he said.

"As restrictions ease further and more camp grounds reopen we have seen ... record sales occurring."

Colin Battersby from the Stradbroke Chamber of Commerce said his business had also been busy with "pent-up demand" when COVID-19 restrictions began to ease.

"The vast majority of our customers come from south-east Queensland but there's a sizeable group that come from northern NSW - Byron, Ballina, Yamba," he said.

"In the NSW school holidays, we've usually got pretty good occupancy, but this year we don't. The borders aren't open until Friday and they book six weeks, two months in advance. The horse's bolted now.

"We're also missing our international visitors, the day-trippers that come and see the whales."

But Mr Costello said opening the borders was expected to have a lesser impact on North Stradbroke Island than other areas in the state because of the high proportion of local visitors.

"The majority of Minjerribah Camping (customers) are from south-east Queensland, so it's people from Brisbane who bring their families over and have been doing it for generations," he said.

"The borders will definitely have an impact on businesses generally, but for us closed borders have meant that Queenslanders have been holidaying at home."

Redlands Coast Chamber of Commerce has thrown its support behind a new local tourism campaign in an effort to give small businesses recovering from COVID-19 a boost during the school holidays.

The chamber will campaign via social media to showcase local business and tourist spots.