Queensland hotels pick up pieces after cyclone
Hotels and resort across northern Queensland are cleaning up after Tropical Cyclone Yasi made landfall last week. The category-five cyclone brought heavy rains, gale-force winds and flash floods to coastal areas around the cities of Cairns and Townsville on Wednesday. Many properties had closed down as the cyclone approached, while Qantas laid on extra services to help the evacuation effort.
Mirvac Hotels & Resorts reported that The Sebel Reef House & Spa Palm Cove and Sea Temple Resort & Spa Palm Cove suffered no major structural damage, but that repair work is underway on the grounds and swimming pools areas which were affected. Electricity, telephone and internet access have been restored. A clean up operation is also underway at the Sea Temple Resort & Spa Port Douglas. Club Med’s Lindeman Island resort, which evacuated all staff and guests as the cyclone approached, sustained no major damage and reopens today, while Best Western reported that communications were still down at its two Townville properties on Friday. Its seven other regional hotels were undamaged. None of the Mantra Group’s 12 north Queensland properties were damaged, and ferry services to the Whitsunday Islands have restarted.
Stephen Burt, CEO Mirvac Hotels & Resorts, praised the efforts of hotel employees. “Our staff, in many cases, have had minimal sleep over the last few days and are back on deck this morning for the massive clean-up to get the hotels back to normal,” Burt said. “Our first priority at the moment is the clean-up process, enabling us to resume normal business operations and to look after our guests,” he added.
Thousands of Australian soldiers, police and emergency workers have been sent to help Queensland’s coastal communities. One person is confirmed to have died, but the overall impact of the cyclone is better than many expected. Queensland’s Premier, Anna Bligh, said it was a “great relief” that the damage had not been as bad as first feared, while Tourism Whitsundays CEO, Peter O’Reilly said the region is “counting our lucky stars” that it escaped largely unscathed.