THOUSANDS of interstate and New Zealand visitors are streaming into the region for the Sunshine Coast's first Wanderlust Festival this weekend, delivering a super-boost to the tourism economy ahead of what is shaping as a bumper Christmas.
Novotel Twin Waters Resort is booked out, with the overflow cramming into accommodation at Marcoola and Mudjimba.
The mix of experiences and entertainment which started yesterday has already drawn a fascinating demographic group, 85% of whom are female, in their late 20s to their mid 30s with an average age of 32 and who organiser Jonnie Halstead described as affluent, urban, educated, conscious consumers.
The well-being, entertainment, culture and yoga event, which is part of a global franchise, has committed to the Sunshine Coast for the next three years through a partnership with council and Tourism Events Queensland.
Novotel general manager Warwick Kahl said 120-150 staff a day had been rostered on to meet the needs of more than 1200 guests staying at the resort.
Strong early bookings numbering more than 1500 from Sydney, Melbourne, New Zealand, the US and Asia, plus another 3000 from within Queensland, will be boosted by late local interest in the next three days of full-day sessions and special music segments like those featuring Donavon Frankenreiter and Sneaky Sound System.
Organiser Jonnie Halstead said the reaction already from overseas visitors has been a reminder of how special the Sunshine Coast was as a destination and as a place to live.
"People have been glued to their windows as they've flown in, seeing the beach, the lagoon and the set up," he said.
"Everyone is on a natural high. The message of 'Sunshine Coast Naturally Refreshing, live life to the full' is why we are getting so many (overseas) visitors.
"When they think of Australia they think of this."
Locals can gain free entry to check out the festival and to enjoy markets and entertainment in the village.
Mr Halstead said Novotel Twin Waters had been transformed into a wonderland well worth checking out by local residents, who already had so much at their fingertips.
Mr Kahl said Wanderlust represented more that just an opportunity to boost pre-Christmas occupancy rates.
He said it had allowed Novotel to look at the asset from another perspective which would see festivals added to the existing business model of conferences and tourism accommodation.
The resort is humming, coming off a mid-year school holiday break where occupancy jumped 4% on 2014 to average 96% including 500 children in house every day.
Mr Kahl said conferences booked through November and very strong early booking for Christmas would allow the resort to round out 2015 on a high.
Novotel Twin Waters October 15-18
- - Donavan Frankeinreiter and Sneaky Sound system Saturday night
- - Hula Hooping and SUP board classes
- - Cleanup on Coolum Beach, Sunday morning between 8-11am
- - Yoga classes and workshops from some of the most highly-acclaimed teachers in the world
- - Farm to Table dinner from Lola Berry
- - Mindful market place
- - Free activities as well as ticketed events
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