February 7th 2005
Visitor strategy meeting planned
A meeting of Island business people and community organisations is planned for next week to develop strategies and planning to attract more visitors back to Magnetic.
The February meeting, coming at the lowest point in the Island's yearly economic cycle, is being organised by the Community Development Association.
All Island accommodation houses, shops, attractions, restaurants & cafes and community organisations who interact with visitors are encouraged to attend the meeting which will be held at the Magnetic International.
One business operator, Steve Bell from Bell's Bakery told Magnetic Times, "I'd really like to see more activities on the Island to attract day trippers so that a night on the Island might turn into another day or more."
Steve is hopeful that the Magnetic Island Festival held formerly over the Queen's Birthday weekend in June could be reinstigated. Another idea is for a street style party celebration in Horseshoe Bay for Australia Day. "Maybe we could have a big Island Day out there with lots of damper and scones." he said.
The Community Development Association President, Lorna Hempstead, told Magnetic Times, "It is terrific to see Island businesses again becoming pro-active and willing to get people to work together. I'm sure it will be very positive and will see the emergence of short and long term events and promotional strategies for the Island."
Steve wasn't sure what the reason was for lower visitor numbers in 2004. He was clearly concerned however that a combination of increased ferry prices following rises in fuel and government landing charges, the continuing impact of the Strand and lack of Island activities to attract more visitors were part of the problem.
Lorna underlined the significance of the issue saying, "It is clear that many businesses are hurting to a lesser or greater extent and it is important for the health of the community to help keep our businesses going".
As is traditionally the case with Magnetic's economy, most businesses can operate at or near full capacity during the June to September "season". However the age old ambition to spread the shoulder periods and promote wet season visitors has always been a major challenge. As Thuringowa will soon have its own Riverside Gardens attraction the kind of impact on Island visitation caused by the Strand is likely to be compounded.
According to Lorna however, "Throughout the 1990's the Island had a very pro-active promotions group - so much so that we won enough tourism awards to put us in the Tourism Hall of Fame and to make us a State Finalist! We think it's high time that again we work together to achieve better results for us all!"
The meeting will be held on Tuesday 15th February at Magnetic International Resort at 6.15pm for 6.30pm