THE Atherton Tablelands could be the beneficiary of a significant boost in tourism in the near future after the Atherton Motel’s proposal to add ten rooms to their site was passed at a Tablelands Regional Council meeting last week. The proposed development, which is set to increase the Atherton Motel’s number of rooms from 18 to 28, is aimed at capitalising on the prolific bus and coach market in an attempt to bring more tourists to the region.
Atherton Motel owner and operator Robert Monk said the tourism industry on the Atherton Tablelands has struggled since coach companies ceased operations on the Tablelands more than two years ago. “The proposal really started to gain momentum when our competitors here in Atherton began operating as backpacker accommodation,” he said.
“One motel in particular that moved to complete backpacker accommodation was previously the only provider in town that could handle bus coaches. “And because of their switch, coach companies have avoided coming to Atherton which has had a detrimental impact on the region’s tourism industry and economy.”
The catalyst for Mr Monk’s development proposal was that bus and coach companies traditionally like to work with motel’s that have 24 rooms or more, and he is strongly of the belief that this proposal will provide for a gap in the market that will be valuable for the entirety of the region.
“This is just not about helping our own business,” he said. “There are so many wonderful businesses and natural icons in this part of the country that can make this area a real drawcard for tourists.
“Everything from the Crystal Caves to the Herberton Historic Village, the lakes to the waterfalls – there’s so much to do here and we need to take advantage of that. “And this development will give guests a fantastic base to stay and experience all the awesome things within 20-30 minutes of Atherton.”
While a strong point of emphasis for Mr Monk is securing a reliable bus and coach market on the Tablelands, he also wants to tap into the self-drive market. “If we do a good job at promoting the coach tours and ensure it reaches a lot of potential tourists, there will be quite a few people who choose to do the tours by driving themselves,” he said.
“This will in turn have its own benefits, as they are likely to stay longer and spend plenty of money. “Therefore having both a coach and self-drive market will mean every retail outlet within the community will reap the benefits – it’s absolutely a win-win for everyone involved.”
Mr Monk noted that the proposal is part of a three-year plan, and he said it’s one that he hopes can come to fruition with help from the Tablelands Regional Council. “What we put forward to Council was to see what sort of assistance a company that is looking to promote the whole area can receive,” he said.
“And given that they approved it today, it appears as though they want to help.”
“However, there’s still a process we need to go through to see what kind of assistance they can provide us and that will be discussed over the coming weeks.”