TOURISTS keen for a coastal holiday favoured the Whitsundays over Mackay during the Christmas break.
Visitors packed into Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island, booking out the Whitsundays to almost 100% capacity, while accommodation in the city was only half full.
Whitsundays Marketing and Development manager Danielle Krista said the Whitsundays had experienced its best Christmas holiday period in four years.
"It's recovering back to what we consider normal," she said.
Summit Apartments Airlie Beach manager Emily Eivers said visitor numbers were "definitely up" from December 2011.
Ms Eivers said many holiday makers had extended their stay into the first few weeks of January after finding tours booked out during the Christmas break.
"In 2012 people started booking mid-year and we were booked out by October for New Year's.
"We have a five-night minimum policy but in 2011, right up to the end, we were offering three-night stays because we still had spots left."
Clarion Hotel manager Shane Bowman said the marina, rather than hotels, was the place to be in Mackay during the Christmas break, with travellers keen to take to the seas and test out their boats and yachts.
"The sheer volume of tourism traffic coming through the marina over the Christmas period is amazing."
Mr Bowman said he saw many tourists stop at the marina for a few days on the water while travelling through Mackay.
"It's something the community and locals don't see," he said.
Seawinds Caravan Park manager Michelle Young said tourist numbers in Mackay were slightly down compared to Christmas 2011.
"We would have hoped for a bit better with the weather being nice, but it's fairly quiet," she said.
"We're at 50% capacity right now.
Did you stay in the Whitsundays over the Christmas and New Year period?
This poll ended on 15 January 2013.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
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