60,000 to make eclipse pilgrimage to Queensland’s Tropical North

7 Nov 2012 3:50 PMJann Stuckey

07/11/2012

Tropical North Queensland is preparing to welcome an estimated 60,000 people to witness the region’s first total solar eclipse in more than 1,300 years.

Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games Jann Stuckey said hot air balloons, Great Barrier Reef islands, cruise ships, dive boats and palm-fringed beaches are just some of the vantage points visitors will use to view the eclipse.

“At 6.38am Queensland time on Wednesday November 14 all eyes will be on the 200km stretch between Innisfail and the Daintree as it experiences its first total solar eclipse since 710AD,” Ms Stuckey said.

“Between 50,000 and 60,000 scientists, astronomers, astrologists, eclipse chasers and other visitors will make the pilgrimage to Queensland’s Tropical North and the region’s tourism operators are ready to greet them.”

Assistant Minister and Member for Cairns Gavin King said the region was already buzzing with excitement a week out from the natural phenomenon.

“Reports are most accommodation, from camping grounds to five-star hotels is booked out and there isn’t a hire car or campervan to be had within a 100km radius. This is going to provide a fantastic boost for the region,” Mr King said.

Ms Stuckey said the tourism and economic benefits will be far reaching.

“Most eclipse chasers will be in the region for five to seven days and are expected to spend up big on activities including trips to the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree, eating out and shopping,” Ms Stuckey said.

“The Newman Government has a goal to double overnight visitor expenditure to $30 billion per annum by 2020 and this is an opportunity to promote Queensland’s Tropical North to the world, with a captive global audience of millions set to watch the eclipse live online.”

Tourism Queensland Acting CEO Leanne Coddington said Tourism Queensland and Tourism Tropical North Queensland had partnered to produce some incredible images of the eclipse seen through the frame of the destination – not just as a black spot in front of the sun.

“We want to send out the message that even if you can’t be here for this once-in-a-lifetime experience, you can have your own once-in-a-lifetime experience at a time that suits you,” Ms Coddington said.

“The world’s largest reef, the world’s oldest rainforest and the only place on the planet where two World Heritage sites meet, our wildlife, tropical islands and beaches are all natural wonders that can be experienced at any time.”

Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) Chief Executive Officer Rob Giason said the eclipse would give the region exposure around the world.

“The Astronomical Association of Queensland and a team of scientists will be working with TTNQ and NASA to present a live web broadcast from Palm Cove, Ellis Beach and the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Giason said.

Further information including where to view the eclipse live online, can be found at www.eclipse2012.org.au or www.ustream.tv/cairnseclipse2012

[ENDS] 7 November 2012