10 May 2023

Tourist season delayed until May

| Matt Nicholls
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The Western Cape Eco Tours boat has been given a facelift ahead of the 2022 tourist season.

MASSIVE amounts of tourists are tipped to flock to Cape York this year but there are fears that some bookings may have to be cancelled due to the prolonged wet season.

Most operators based north of Laura bank on May 1 as the opening of the season and any business they get earlier is considered a bonus.

But if river levels don’t drop and the road isn’t graded quickly, it could lead to a loss of income for many businesses.

It’s not just the tourism operators that rely on visitor numbers. Cape York’s roadhouses and retail sector also need the influx of customers to make ends meet.

In Weipa, Western Cape Eco Tours will likely kick off the season on May 13.

Sporting a brand new wrap on their boat, booking numbers are strong for 2022, said Gemma Shaw, who runs the business with her partner Malcolm Slack.

“The season is looking really good, especially if the road is opened soon,” she said.

Weipa Mine and Town Tours is also in the same situation.

Hardus van Wyk and Megan Hall haven’t taken bookings until May 13 and are hoping the roads open up in time.

“There is a really big demand this year and we are telling tourists to make sure they book their tours in advance to avoid missing out,” Megan said.

“A lot of people will arrive in Weipa and think they can book a tour and we’ll do our best to help them, but often we don’t have any spare seats.”

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