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Far Nth Queensland reopens for business

Peppers Port Douglas pool

Peppers Port Douglas pool

Mantra Group has confirmed that Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree resorts in Port Douglas, Palm Cove and Cairns have emerged relatively unscathed from the last weekend’s category four Cyclone Ita.

In a statement received by HM, Mantra said all resorts are fully operational and, “most importantly, deemed safe for guests with only minor damage to gardens”.

“The extreme weather conditions have now subsided allowing our staff to join in community clean ups to ensure the region is back to normal as soon as possible, ready for the busy Easter holidays,” the company said.

Peppers resorts on Magnetic Island and in Airlie Beach have also reported minimal damage and will be fully operational for Easter guests. Flights and ferry services have resumed and all roads are now open in both regions.

“Recovery plans were in place leading up to the event, which ensured properties were ready to handle the cyclone and its aftermath,” said Mantra Group CEO, Bob East.

“Thanks to the excellent coordination and teamwork by the operations and central services, all properties will resume to normal trade in readiness for Easter.”

East said thoughts are with communities in and around Cooktown. He said Mantra Group is a national humanity partner with the Australian Red Cross and will support recovery efforts wherever required.

Over on Lizard Island, members of Delaware North’s senior management team visited the island on Sunday afternoon to conduct an initial review of the damage caused by Cyclone Ita which passed over the Island on April 11.

According to Delaware North, “Initial observations are that while the Resort has sustained some structural damage, many of the buildings look to be intact. However there is extensive vegetation damage which is currently limiting accessibility.

“The aircraft runway is operational which will allow us to fly in a further assessment and technical team tomorrow and we should have more information within a week on when we will re-open,” Delaware North said.

Spending by tourists will play a key role in keeping the North Queensland economy ticking over and helping the region recover from Cyclone Ita, according to the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF)

TTF Chief Executive Ken Morrison said the vast majority of destinations have escaped the storm unscathed.

“The tourism industry in North Queensland is open for business and ready, willing and able to welcome visitors,” Morrison said.

“While much of the focus in the next few days will be on the recovery effort in affected areas, it is important people understand that most places suffered only minimal damage.

“Yes, Ita was a big storm, but it has passed and for most tourist destinations it’s already business as usual, with virtually all expecting to be fully operational by Easter.

“Hotels and resorts are welcoming guests and tour operators are taking people out to the Great Barrier Reef.

“Anyone who’s booked a North Queensland holiday over the Easter and Anzac Day period should go because most holiday destinations are operating as normal.

“By all means, contact your travel agent, resort or hotel to confirm but don’t cancel without checking first.

“Spending by tourists will help these areas recover and ensure that the impact of Ita is kept to a minimum.

“Tourism makes a massive contribution to the North Queensland economy, directly employing more than 25,000 people in thousands of tourism businesses and generating more than $2 billion in expenditure each year.

“Ensuring this activity continues is one of the best ways people from other parts of Australia can contribute to the recovery effort,” Morrison said.

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