Reef resorts almost fully booked for holidays

HERON Island and Lady Elliot are almost entirely booked out for the silly season with capacity close to 100% at both resorts.

"We still have a few nights free over December and January but not many," Heron Island marketing and communications manager Judith Meadows said.

With turtle nesting, snorkelling, diving and world-class facilities at both islands, two of Gladstone's closest reef resorts continue to draw both domestic and international tourists to the region.

"Bookings are steady with 20% of our guests from overseas, 40% are from Queensland and 40% from all over Australia," she said.

"We have a return rate of 12% and it's fantastic that so many Australians are exploring the reef and supporting our local tourism economy."

Lena Mannerstrale from Lady Elliot Island said this year's Christmas bookings were similar to 2013, but changes to the island's marketing plan has meant more bookings outside the school holiday rush.

"Christmas is our busiest time and we are about to hit capacity," she said.

"That is normal and everything is full steam ahead, but the great change we are seeing is the low season bookings.

"We're expecting a bumper season in the peak period but also either side this year."

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