Australia floods leave tourist industry in peril

Brisbane, brisbane, Australia, australia
The terrible floods in Queensland, Australia, have destroyed thousands of homes, done billions of dollars of damage, and have left at least a dozen people dead. Queensland is a major coal exporter, and with the rising waters hampering shipments and flooding mines, world coal prices have risen. A major consumer of Queensland coal are Asian steel mills, which are already feeling the pinch. This has led to a rise in steel prices. That’s a double dose of bad news for the economic recovery.

Another Queensland industry has also been hard hit–tourism. The tourists have fled along with the residents, but it’s the long-term effects that are more harmful. If rising coal and steel prices hurt the economic recovery, that’s bound to hurt the tourism industry pretty much everywhere. Brisbane, Australia’s third-largest city, is the center for Australia’s Gold Coast, a major draw for Australia’s $32 billion tourist industry. Floods are damaging popular beaches and will require costly repairs. Coastal and riverside hotels and shops are being destroyed. The Brisbane Times reports that toxic materials washed into the sea could have an effect on delicate coral reefs and fish populations. With snorkeling and scuba diving such popular activities on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, this could do long-term damage to tourism.

Meanwhile, airlines are worried about how this will affect them. Virgin Blue has already seen its shares drop by 3.4 percent today because investors fear there will be a drop in bookings. Qantas shares also dipped slightly. Airlines are issuing fee waivers for passengers who want to change their flights to, from, or through Brisbane.

It looks like Queensland residents will suffer from the flood long after the waters recede.

[Photo of Brisbane sunset courtesy user t i m m a y via Gadling’s flickr pool]

Locals in lead for Best Job in the World

If you want a great job, move to Queensland. In the ongoing “Best Job in the World” contest, two of the top five are from Queensland – with contest leader Clare Wang from Taiwan. According to international betting agency PinnacleSports.com Wang’s odds of nabbing this cushy assignment are 3.5:1. Queenslander James Hill follows at 5:1 (in the #2 spot). Hailey Turner, from Brisbane, is in fifth, with odds of 13:1.

Unsurprisingly, an American and a German are in a race to the bottom. Greg Reynen (from the United States) has odds of 44.8:1, with Mirjam Novak edging slightly ahead in this immaterial corner of the contest at 43.5:1. The odds for contestants with experience in the porn business were not revealed, but common sense would suggest they aren’t favorable.

The final 16 candidates will head to Hamilton Island next month to spend a week participating in this spectacular publicity stunt working on the island and exploring the Great Barrier Reef.

The Best Job in the World lured 34,684 applicants as part of a $1.7 million global marketing gimmick. It’s paid off already, generating AU$100 million in publicity for Queensland.



The winner will get a lazy one-year contract for AU$150,000.

Get to know the top Aussie in the contest, Hailey, after the jump.

A Wild West Ride in Australia

When I was looking for a photo for my Wild West World amusement park post, I found out about the Wild West Adventure Falls ride in Australia. It’s located in Warner Brothers Movie World on the Gold Coast.

This ride is the largest theme park attraction in Australia and it sounds like a blast. There is a geyser, wagon train, an Indian reservation and a ghost town in the mix of this part roller coaster, part water ride thriller.

When I went Australia, I was on the other side of the country near Perth and Fremantle. The Gold Coast part of the country looks to me like it’s a bit like going to Orlando or Los Angeles where there is an attraction at every highway exit. It’s south of Brisbane and touted as a tourist destination hotspot.

As much as I like theme parks, it’s curious that someone might spend all the money for the flight to Australia and head to theme park central for their vacation. But, then, people spend all the money for a plane ticket to the U.S. and spend all their time in amusement parks here. This is just something I thought about when I looked up Wild West Adventure Falls.