A STORM IN A TEACUP: IT'S BUSINESS AS USUAL

A STORM IN A TEACUP: IT'S BUSINESS AS USUAL

DESPITE severe weather warnings indicating cyclone Marcia is about to ravage the Gold Coast, employers are proving resilient, declaring "business as usual" for now.

The weather event which is expected to hit the Gold Coast later today, bringing with it intense winds, giant seas and up to 500mm of rain, has not deterred business leaders from closing their doors, with some suggesting the hype may be just a storm in a teacup. 

Head of Gold Coast Tourism Martin Winter says weather events like this happen every year and it shouldn't be blown out of proportion with negativity, as this deters people from the city.

"It is a real pity that we are experiencing inclement weather on the Gold Coast, there is nothing we can do about Mother Nature," says Winter.

"But one thing that is absolutely vital is that the reports in the press, whether they be television, print or digital, are balanced and are not simply negative.

"At times like this, the Gold Coast brand is very delicately balanced given that we rely so much on the beauty of our beaches.

"It would be a real pity to see cheap journalism once again raising its head to the detriment of the industry, which will surely damage the industry's reputation."

Surfers Paradise Alliance (SPA) CEO Mike Winlaw (pictured below) says the troubling weather will impact mixed markets, however he has not heard of any businesses shutting down for the day as a result of it.

He says it may affect outdoor operators and some dining precincts, however he is encouraging people to take advantage of the indoor attractions.

"One of the real strengths in Surfers Paradise is all the attractions we have and one of the advantages there for holidaymakers and people coming to the Gold Coast is there is still a lot to do indoors," says Winlaw.

"Everything from Timezone to Ripleys to the Haunted House and Infinity, to the top of Skypoint - there is so much to do indoors."

SPA's Sand Safari event, which runs until March 1 on the foreshore of Surfers Paradise, has not been cancelled and organisers are waiting for further information about the storm before taking any "excessive action".

General manager of Hotel Grand Chancellor Peter Yared says he has not seen any cancellations that have been weather related.

"We will still be busy and probably busier than normal as more people will stay inside rather than go out if the weather is that bad," says Yared.

The cyclone was predicted to be a category one, however updated information shows it has been upgraded to a category five.

The Bureau of Metrology indicates that the cyclone has sustained winds gusts up to 285kmh. 

The Gold Coast Airport has also issued a statement saying it remains open and fully operational. It is encouraging passengers that are traveling to contact their airline directly for the latest information regarding flight status.

Theme parks also will remain open, although Village Roadshow owner of Movie World, Sea World and Wet 'n' Wild says it will only cease operations on some rides for safety reasons in the event of lightning or heavy rain.

Dreamworld met yesterday afternoon to discuss preparations for the expected deluge, but the theme park will remain open.

Paul Callandar, the executive general manager of Ardent Leisure Theme Parks, has suggested the Skypoint observation deck on Q1 could prove popular with weather watchers.

Contact Gold Coast Business News if your business is affected by the weater event - 07 5575 7400. 

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