Fly In Fly Out…or Lose out?

Are you tapping the FIFO and other mining economy markets?


The mining boom is well and truly under way, with massive effects on our tourism industry. The Australian newspaper on 6 September carried an article Tourism one Day…Coal Country The Next. Our federal minister for resources and energy and also minister for tourism will be giving a talk at the Airports Convention in November on Tourism and Mining – Drivers of Airport Growth.

So what does that mean for your accommodation business – business as usual, a downturn or an upturn?

What is written in the press here is not hearsay. I have just spent a week up north from the Sunshine Coast driving first to Moranbah ‘Australia’s most expensive town’ right in the middle of the coal fields, then on to the Whitsundays, a mere three hours driving time onwards, then back overnight home. And what I saw and heard talk was just amazing. Signs for mining companies. Enormous open coal fields, advertising signs for workers and for training programs; crash signs nearly every kilometre on the road from Moranbah to Mackay, ‘no vacancy signs, all the way down from Mackay to Rockhampton; and truckies both on the highway and on every conceivable parking area whether at Gin Gin or kilometres from any homestead or town.

There is no spare accommodation in Moranbah for all the workers required by mines to the extent that BHP has had their plans for 100% Fly In Fly Out workers at the new Cavill Ridge Mine endorsed by government. Yet while the motels and apartment unit owners are rejoicing at maximum occupancy rack rates, up in the Whitsundays a marina and hotel group has just gone into receivership, there are vacancy signs aplenty, cheap overnight rates and sad to say a fair number of dilapidated signs outside accommodation houses.

There is no doubt that the Whitsunday area has been doing it tough; however Hamilton Island Regatta week appeared to be buzzing and the aptly named Rent a Yacht company from whom we chartered an almost sparking new Beneteau 34 were doing OK; their service being exemplary and costs reasonable for an upmarket Australian budget, although probably not for that of many foreigners.

Now there is a huge market if it can be tapped, for these mining workers, both of the mining company themselves and for the hordes of consulting and ancillary companies, for time out with their partners; and the same holds true for the myriads of truckies plying the mining routes east and west of this vast country. For the FIFO market there are already geographical areas that can be tapped such as Cairns, Mackay, Rockhampton, Collie, Perth and northwards in Western Australia. The Sunshine Coast Airport is seeking to attract regular northbound flights specifically for the FIFO market and other suitable airports will be doing likewise.

What is difficult is to track the numerous charter operators who have contracts with the mining companies and others for this FIFO market; there must be a way to work with them for “specials” for their passengers? And if the Grey Nomads get tired of all that heavy traffic on the Bruce Highway north and the inability of finding accommodation, then maybe they can be persuaded just to stop in the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast or wherever for a less stressful holiday.

Peter Rogers
Eyrie Escape

Related Articles

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Back to top button
WP Tumblr Auto Publish Powered By :
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x