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Cyclone Ita fallout fails to deter Easter holiday-makers in north Queensland

By Ashleigh Stevenson and Kirsty Nancarrow, Tuesday April 22, 2014 - 11:47 EST

A peak Queensland tourism group says there were strong visitor numbers in the state's north over the Easter holidays, as the clean-up after Tropical Cyclone Ita continues.

The system crossed the north Queensland coast on April 11, damaging roads and properties, and there were concerns many tourists would cancel their trips.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) spokesman Daniel Gschwind says operators are preparing for another busy week.

"We have not only the Easter weekend and the school holidays of course around that we also have the Anzac Day weekend coming up," he said.

"I think a lot of people will take advantage of that and the bookings were certainly strong and thankfully we didn't have too many cancellations as a consequence of the cyclone."

Mr Gschwind says sunny conditions prompted plenty of last-minute bookings.

"It's not just for the overnight visitation, but also for day trips and a lot of people still do make last-minute decisions, as we have seen," he said.

"The weather is an absolute incentive for people to explore their backyard and to explore closer to home and take that day trip."

Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree, north of Cairns, also say visitors have not been put off by the impact of Ita over the Easter period.

The region suffered a 40 per cent cancellation rate at the start of the school holidays when Ita battered the far north Queensland coast.

The Daintree ferry was shut for several days when heavy rain flooded the river and broke its banks but it reopened before the long weekend.

Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree executive director Doug Ryan says the local industry has recovered well.

"The period during the cyclone and just after did affect the town," he said.

"We had about a 40 per cent drop off for visitation that was pre-booked but since then it's been pretty good.

"We are still getting the occasional inquiry about, 'are we open for business' but look the town is back to normal and we're having a great Easter."

He says restaurants and other operators in Port Douglas were full across the Easter weekend.

"Since the back-end of the cyclone things have picked up," he said.

"The work that Tourism and Events Queensland and ourselves trying to let people know to continue to travel - there's been nothing happening up here - and it seems to be working.

"Many of the accommodation houses are 100 per cent so that's great for here."


- ABC

© ABC 2014

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