CALLS to change Christmas school holiday dates make sense and should receive careful consideration, tourism leaders on the Sunshine Coast say as they prepare for a bumper 2017-18 break.
Operators across the region say while bookings may not match the record-busting figures achieved last Christmas, the result would still be a huge win for the tourism industry which was one of the mainstays of the Sunshine Coast economy.
But both Noosa Tourism head Steve McPharlin and Visit Sunshine Coast's Simon Latchford agree that the benefits of shifting the start of public school holidays a week closer to Christmas and then extending their finish until the Australia Day holiday need to be explored.
Mooloolaba unit manager Peter Foran, one of the veterans of the industry said pre-Christmas holiday bookings were slow with Queenslanders reluctant to take their annual break until right before or just after December 25.
He said post-Christmas bookings were strong but discussions needed to be held between the industry and the Queensland Department of Education about reconsidering the holiday schedule.
Queensland state school holidays started on December 9 with students due to return to class on January 21.
Mr Foran said the consequence was "two weeks of crappy trade” at the start of the six-week break and the loss of what would be a solid week of bookings in late January.
"Nobody in Queensland holidays before Christmas,” he said.
"The holidays used to start the weekend before Christmas and then run through to post-Australia Day.
"An extra week in January would be better. Here it would mean an extra 15 apartments booked at $310 a night. Multiply that across the Sunshine Coast and they are big numbers.”
Mr Latchford agreed.
He said the Christmas season looked likely to again deliver a solid result for the economy with Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin all reporting strong numbers and the new service out of Melbourne attracting plenty of interest.
But he said there was a powerful argument for a slight re-alignment of school holiday dates with many parents still at work during the first two weeks of the break.
It would be better, Mr Latchford said, if money parents were needing to allocate to childcare instead went into a holiday.
"I think mums and dads would embrace it,” he said.
Mr McPharlin said Noosa's tourism numbers looked solid but were unlikely to match last year's "crazy records”.
He said the tourist town had been surprisingly quiet at the start of the school holiday period but was now filling up fast.
Mr McPharlin said it was the first he had heard of an argument to change holiday dates but said it was important the industry was always striving to improve things.
He said the 14,000 to 16,000 people engaged in the Noosa tourism industry were ready to go with workers set to benefit from the extra hours.
"The great weather has Noosa Main Beach looking fantastic and the Noosa River is magical,” Mr McPharlin said.