Accommodation sector suffers losses into new financial year

Following a bumper December/January period for many accommodation providers in the region, the spread of coronavirus is now threatening to make the coming year the worst-performing, leaving local operators grappling with the fallout.

With our upcoming Easter period and peak tourism season already in tatters, local accommodation businesses are monitoring the situation closely, as not only current and immediate future bookings diminish, but future bookings also begin to evaporate, leaving the first half of the new financial year looking extremely dismal.

In a rapidly changing few weeks, occupancy across the total 3800 commercial accommodation spaces available in Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast, which includes rooms, units, villas (2267), cabins and cottages (332), and commercial caravan and camping sites (1200), has been reduced to less than 10% as holiday makers and business travellers abandon upcoming travel plans.

While this trend causes a catastrophic decline, which will see a number of strong and long-standing providers facing closure because the funds aren’t available, worse again is the 9000-plus* staff working within the accommodation and food (3596), retail trade (5141), and arts and recreation (459) services across the region, who have already or are facing job loss*.

Although grateful for the lifeline of cash injection being announced for both business and individuals by State and Federal Government over the past week, Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll is devastated to see previously thriving businesses struggling with the sudden negative impact brought upon by the virus.

“The unprecedented loss of jobs and unknown outlook for businesses is and will have a damaging blow on our destination for a long time into the future,” said Mary.

“Our current efforts include regular teleconferences with our State and Federal government contacts, ensuring that our local industry has a voice.”

“At the moment, the businesses we are speaking with are overwhelmed and dealing with the immediate impact, yet they are also forecasting into a new financial year that is looking to be incredibly distressing.”

Capricorn Enterprise is currently working to prepare a recovery strategy for the region that aims to turn the lights back on for local business just as quickly as they dimmed.

“Once the health concerns of the virus eventually take a back seat and the government restrictions begin to reverse, our number one role, as it always has been, will be to work with operators in our community to get back on their feet and support them in returning to a successful operation,” said Mary.

“Our region is a tough nut, and although the current situation has and will continue momentarily to test our strength, we will see the other side of this and return to the fruitful and popular destination that keeps visitors coming back.”

During this time, knowledge is power, and Capricorn Enterprise continues to urge businesses and individuals to keep themselves up to date with factual and localised information that is being made available at and on the ‘Support Local, Buy Local’ Facebook page –

*employment figures sourced from the 2016 Census

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