Bundaberg’s Turtle and Reef See Record Response Ahead of Summer Season

The first day of spring brought blue skies for the Bundaberg tourism industry with a record response to the opening of Mon Repos Turtle Encounter ticket sales and major tourism operators recording considerable increases in interest and forward bookings.

The annual Mon Repos Turtle Encounter in Bundaberg has long been an iconic summer experience for Australians and since the closure of international borders, has seen increased demand as Aussies seek home-grown adventures over the Christmas break.

The first day of ticket sales on Wednesday 1 September saw a 35% increase in ticket sales compared to the first day of the 2020/21 season sales, and an incredible 300% increase compared to the first day of the 2019/20 season sales.

Both Lady Musgrave Experience and Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort also recording a healthy increase in forward bookings for summer and in traffic to their website on 1 September, as people seek to visit the pristine Southern Great Barrier Reef over summer and swim with the islands’ turtles and other abundant marine life.

Lady Musgrave Experience recorded nearly 50% more in web traffic on 1 September compared to the same day the previous week and an increase of nearly 70% in visitors coming from the destination website bundabergregion.org, where Mon Repost Turtle Encounter tickets are sold.

Bundaberg Tourism CEO, Katherine Reid said, “The current COVID situation has rattled consumer confidence and people across the nation are nervous about planning and booking holidays in advance, so this record response to the summer turtle season has given the region’s tourism industry a much-needed confidence boost as we approach our peak season.”

“Across the board, bookings for spring have been looking significantly lower than last year.  While operators are reporting a slight upswing in visitors after SEQ’s latest lockdown and restrictions, the average lead time for accommodation bookings in the past year has been 2 weeks and this has reduced even more over these last few months.”

“The operators impacted the most are our attractions and tours, who have seen last-minute bookings becoming the new normal, making business operations very challenging.  These forward bookings give us some insight into consumer confidence for summer, showing people are still planning their holidays and are willing to book for iconic experiences so far in advance, especially intrastate ones.”

“The vast majority of our website visitors are based in South-East Queensland, however, it’s interesting to see across the industry that Sydney and Melbourne are appearing within our top 5 cities visiting our websites.  Even though they are in lockdowns, our southern neighbours are clearly still dreaming and researching summer holidays in Queensland, and Bundaberg on the Southern Great Barrier Reef is increasingly gaining interest in these markets.”

Held from November to March each year, the Mon Repos Turtle Encounter is operated by the expert guides of the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers and the volunteers to promote and assist in the conservation of the endangered loggerhead turtles.

Lady Musgrave Experience and Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort operate day trips and overnight accommodation experiences from Bundaberg daily over summer, where giant marine life and pristine coral reef are major drawcards.

As the gateway to the Southern Great Barrier Reef, the home to the Australian east coast’s only ranger-led turtle encounter, home to some of the nation’s biggest drink brands and one of the most prolific food bowls, Bundaberg is becoming one of Australia’s most in-demand destinations for domestic travellers with a broad range of incredible experiences for travellers to choose from.

 For more information, go to bundabergregion.org