Day trippers and overnight visitors are making the most of the Bundaberg Region since the easing of COVID restrictions, with a huge spike in travellers coming from across the South East.
According to CEO of Bundaberg Tourism Katherine Reid, visitor numbers have greatly surpassed 2019 figures due to more travellers choosing to explore their own neck of the woods.
“Bundaberg, like many regional destinations across Australia, sees a large proportion of our leisure visitors driving from within 400km of the region,” she said.
“In 2019, the Bundaberg Region welcomed over 760,000 overnight visitors from Australia and a further 931,000 day trippers, with nearly 90% of these visitors coming from Queensland.
“Since lockdowns have started easing, our three Visitor Centres have recorded significant increases in visitors from South East Queensland, up 300% to 400% each month on those 2019 visitor numbers.”
Katherine said South East Queenslanders were now, more than ever, being surprised by the Bundaberg Region’s accessibility, broad variety of tourism options and safe and welcoming community.
“With international borders closed, many are choosing to get out into our beautiful nation to experience the “bucket list” attractions that draw international tourists from around the world and that many Australians have tended to put off until later,” she said.
“With the interstate borders in a state of flux, Queenslanders have felt more confident about travelling within our own state, and regions like Bundaberg who are in close proximity of South East Queensland are seeing an influx of tourists who are travelling in their own vehicles to explore places they perhaps hadn’t considered visiting for some time.”
Full steam ahead at Kalki Moon
Kalki Moon Distillery owner Rick Prosser said his business was also experiencing a surge in visitor numbers and was on track to reaching 30,000 people through the doors this year.
He said the business had about eight weeks of uncertainty during Covid-19 restrictions before things really picked up again.
“There was definitely a period where we really couldn't do much in the way of tours or tastings and we relied solely on our product sales in various bottle shops around Queensland,” he said.
“Once restrictions eased, it was full steam ahead.
“We were lucky to bounce back pretty quickly and we found we had to adapt to the massive rise in visitor numbers.”
Rick said during the holiday periods the cellar could experience anywhere from 300 to 500 visitors per day.
“With people deciding to stay local and Queenslanders choosing to explore places close by we are finding more and more people are wanting to drive to Bundaberg to explore what is on offer,” he said.
“With two iconic brands in the town, those being Bundaberg Rum and Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, we have been caught up in the tipple tourism and we are gaining plenty of support from travellers and locals alike.”
Visitor guide connects tourists to region's top spots
With visitation numbers booming, the team at Bundaberg Tourism have launched a new guide filled with the region's hot spots, local businesses and more for travellers to enjoy.
“We’ve profiled our key tourist drawcards, including Southern Great Barrier Reef, turtles, our culinary offerings and our beautiful natural attractions, with new maps and self-drive trails, seasonal calendars, listicles and township profiles,” Katherine said.
“The guide is designed to be picked up in region or when visitors are en route to inspire them to explore the whole of the region, from the coast to the hinterlands, from the towns to the national parks and everything in between.”
Katherine said the guide was aimed at all visitors to the region, but in particular those stopping into Visitor Information Centres to pick up brochures and chat to locals about their top tips and secret locations.
“As Aussies embrace QR codes, the guides are full of useful information designed to whet the appetite and QR codes to allow people to explore further,” she said.
The Bundaberg Southern Great Barrier Reef and North Burnett Official Visitor Guide will be available on the website bundabergregion.org.
It will also be available in the three regional Visitor Information Centres in Bundaberg, Childers and Gin Gin and in accommodation and attractions around the destination.
They are also being distributed to Visitor Information Centres around Queensland and nationally.