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Queensland tourism begins post-Cyclone Marcia recovery
Thousands of tourism jobs on the cyclone-hit Capricornia Coast could be lost if the region's attractions, including its national parks, are not quickly repaired.
The region's big tourism drawcards - the rainforest of coastal Byfield National Park and Great Keppel Island – were both extensively damaged by Cyclone Marcia last weekend.
In the Capricornia Region, tourist accommodation is damaged, power will not be back until Tuesday next week, roads are still blocked and damaged, and communications are still badly impacted.
The concerns for tourism jobs were raised at a Cyclone Marcia Economic Recovery meeting in Brisbane on Wednesday (25th February).
Queensland's Tourism Industry Council Chief Executive Daniel Gschwind said this was a very serious problem for Central Queensland's recovery after Cyclone Marcia.
Gschwind told Fairfax Media "in that region - the Rockhampton, Yeppoon, Fraser Coast, down to the North Burnett region - there are thousands of tourism jobs.
"There are 4,000 to 5,000 jobs there and there could be losses of tourism jobs there.
"The loss of wages, it could have a real multiplier effect."
Newly appointed Queensland Environment Minister Dr Steve Miles said Cyclone Marcia went right over Byfield National Park, one of the jewels in Queensland's national parks estate.
Dr Milles stated "Capricorn area parks were hardest hit with Byfield National Park being directly in the path of Marcia as the cyclone made landfall.”
Byfield National Park, just north of Yeppoon, is an internationally-recognised drawcard for tourists.
Dr Miles added “we know our parks and forests are important to tourism and people's livelihood.
"It's a priority to get them reopened and Queensland's Parks and Wildlife Services will be making every effort.
"The focus will be on popular sites, even if we can just open a park's day-use area."
Great Keppel Island is struggling with erosion to its beaches and the collapse of several holiday units.
Dr Miles said other national parks and state forests were also badly impacted, concluding “many are still inaccessible and early reports indicate that parks and forests in Marcia's path have sustained a huge number of tree-falls, flooding, erosion, track and road washouts and landslides.
"Coastlines and islands will be affected by debris and we'll work with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and other partners in the reef locations."
The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) said early assessments forecast over 200 national parks, state forests and protected areas were smashed by Cyclone Marcia. But later on-ground checks indicated around 100 parks and protected areas were affected.
QPWS Recovery Unit Executive Director Clive Cook stated “the damage is pretty significant up there around Byfield National Park, because that is where the eye of the cyclone passed over.
"It stripped all the vegetation and blocked roads and tracks, created a fair bit of erosion to the beaches and put holes in access roads.
"Staff are beavering away cutting their way back into Byfield National Park, as we speak."
"Access is the key and getting access to these places is often pretty epic."
24th February 2015 - SUNSHINE RETURNS TO SUNSHINE COAST AS REGION ESCAPES WORST OF CYCLONE MARCIA’S FURY
10th March 2014 - NEW CAPRICORN RESORT MOVES A STEP CLOSER
3rd February 2011 - QUEENSLAND TAKES STOCK AFTER MONSTER CYCLONE
2nd February 2011 - CATASTROPHIC CYCLONE SET TO DEVASTATE TROPICAL QUEENSLAND COAST
1st February 2011 - CYCLONE YASI FORCES WHITSUNDAY RESORT EVACUATIONS
22nd October 2010 - HELPING QUEENSLAND TOURISM WEATHER THE STORM
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