REPORT: Travellers keeping Maranoa tourism businesses thriving
EVERY year during the winter months the Mitchell Spa relies on travellers from southern states to make a splash and inject cash into their business and local economy.
This year is a bit different with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announcing a second border closure, preventing Victorians and those from greater Sydney into the state.
Bree Jiggins, Mitchell Spa manager was concerned the second border closure would be detrimental for the business and therefore the town, however the influx of Queensland travellers has kept staff on their toes.
“Every other year we get heavily supported from Victorians coming to stay in the sunshine state,” Ms Jiggins said.
“We thought it would impact us immensely and while numbers aren’t as high as we’d like, we’re still surprised how busy we have been.
“And it’s mostly from Queenslanders, which we’re so lucky about, because they’d usually explore other states.
“It’s nice to see them start travelling again and all the families, especially after being closed for two months, it’s really great to have people again.”
The spa shut for two months, but soon as state’s borders opened, they saw an influx of people from NSW and a few from Victoria.
“Obviously Mitchell thrives on tourism and we wouldn’t be here without it, so I think most people in town are happy to see travellers come through,” she said.
“The town seem quite cautious and weary, as you would be, but most seem happy people are staying and it’s not just for one night but for weeks which is really great.
“I’ve seen the weir being heavily used, sometimes up to 80 caravans a overnight.”
The spa ensures these tourists dollars are spent back in the town.
“Obviously we need the tourists to keep us going because we’re a community organisation and all the money that comes in goes back into the community,” she said.
“The Booringa Action Group hold the tender for the spa, and we spend a lot of money on wages which goes back into the community.
“But we’re involved in the Booringa Fire and Water festival and we work with rotary with Christmas In The Park and we’re currently working on putting more information boards at the weir.
“We don’t have a lot of money to stretch at the moment, but we’re doing the best we can.”
Like several businesses, the spa took the opportunity of the quiet time to do maintenance.
“It was looking quite scary when we closed, but we took it as an opportunity to grow and change,” she said.
“We spent a lot of time fixing the gardens, cleaning the sheds and getting ready to reopen – we tried to turn it in a positive.
“We actually also implemented a lot of Stage One COVID plans into our day-to-day functions. We realised a lot of things worked and made sense.
“The staff have been great, we have the same goal and that’s for tourism and to see growth and we strive for excellence.”