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Beaches packed at 'a critically important time for the tourism industry'

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Almost three times as many people converged on the beaches of the Sunshine Coast than the Gold Coast during the traditionally busy Easter long weekend.

Surf Life Saving Queensland estimates that 245,589 people converged on the former, while 85,115 hit the sand and surf of the latter, from March 29 to April 1.

Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Matt Stoeckel said the Sunshine Coast offered a variety of beaches that were particularly appealing, and they can accommodate huge numbers of visitors.

“Easter was a great time to be down at the beach across the Sunshine Coast, especially after a pretty soggy March,” he said.

“While we didn’t anticipate as many visitors for the 2024 Easter holiday season as we had in 2023, it’s still a critically important time for the tourism industry on the Sunshine Coast.

“What visitors to the Sunshine Coast really appreciate is how uncrowded our beaches are, even at peak times.

Holidaymakers at Happy Valley. Picture: Visit Sunshine Coast.

“We can offer over 100 kilometres of coastline and sandy beaches to suit surfers, boaties, anglers and families, backed up by scenic coastal walks, cycle tracks and picnic spots.”

More than half of the people that went to beaches in Queensland during the long weekend went to Sunshine Coast beaches.

The influx is crucial for the local economy because many of the visitors also stop at local businesses, including cafes, restaurants, attractions and more.

“In general, the tourism industry supports more than 27,000 jobs and pumps billions into the local economy every year,” Mr Stoeckel said.

“Last year, visitors spent a record $5.2b on the Sunshine Coast.”

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.

But the vast amount of visitors kept local lifesavers and lifeguards busy during the long weekend, and prompted a reminder from Surf Life Saving Queensland for people to stay safe during the rest of the Easter school holidays.

There were a 68 rescues on the Sunshine Coast, and 221 first aid treatments, during the four days.

Rock pools at Caloundra. Picture: Visit Sunshine Coast.

That’s four times as many rescues as on the Gold Coast and more than three times as many first aid treatments. More than half of the rescues in Queensland were on the Sunshine Coast.

SLSQ general manager lifesaving and education Peta Lawlor urged people to take precautions.

“We ask beachgoers to please be sure you are aware of conditions before entering the surf,” she said.

“Look out for your mates and swim only between the red and yellow flags during patrol hours.”

To find your nearest patrolled beach, visit Lifesaving.

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