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    Noosa locals torn as 5,000 Schoolies book after Gold Coast cancelled events amid COVID

    Anxious Noosa locals fear idyllic beach town will be overrun by drunken schoolies who will trash the place as thousands head north to party after the Gold Coast scrapped official celebrations

    • Some Noosa locals are concerned Schoolies won’t take care of the beaches
    • They are also worried about Covid and potential damage of property
    • But others are excited to welcome more than 5,000 Schoolies in late November
    • It will bolster an economy which was crippled by border closures during Covid 
    • Official celebrations cancelled on Gold Coast and Schoolies can’t travel to Fiji 
    • As a result, more Schoolies than ever have set their sights on Noosa for 2020 

    More Schoolies than ever before have set their sights on Noosa for 2020 after official events were cancelled on the Gold Coast and flights to Bali and Fiji were grounded.

    While the tourism and hospitality industries are hoping an estimated 5,000 school leavers will inject much needed money into the economy – which was crippled by Covid and the subsequent lockdowns – plenty of Noosa locals have their doubts.

    Some fear their personal safety wasn’t taken into consideration before Noosa agreed to become the unofficial Schoolies destination of 2020.

    Others are simply concerned the cash injection isn’t worth the potential damage to local beaches and nature reserves. 

    ‘Many of us bought in Noosa so we wouldn’t have to endure such a thing as Schoolies,’ one longtime Noosaville resident said. 

    ‘Who in their right mind would consider it a good idea from a health risk point of view… given the age demographic of most residents in Noosa.’   

    Damning photographs taken at various Schoolies events across the Gold Coast in recent years show beaches littered with rubbish from the night before. Pictured: Cavill Avenue in 2019

    Tourism Noosa chief executive officer Melanie Anderson (pictured) said Schoolies who choose Noosa as their destination of choice are likely not coming 'to party' given venues close early and there aren't any night clubs

    Tourism Noosa chief executive officer Melanie Anderson (pictured) said Schoolies who choose Noosa as their destination of choice are likely not coming ‘to party’ given venues close early and there aren’t any night clubs

    Poll

    Would you be concerned if 5,000 Schoolies came to your hometown this year?

    • Yes 0 votes
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    Now share your opinion

    From November 20, an estimated 5,000 school leavers will descend on Hastings Street and surrounds – after organised events and beach parties were cancelled on the Gold Coast to stem the spread of Covid.  

    Red Frog volunteers – who usually offer support to teens during their stay – will also skip the Glitter Strip, instead deploying at least 100 people north to Noosa.

    Red Frogs Queensland’s Chris George said they’re ‘bolstering support for locals in Noosa’ but really aren’t sure what to expect from school leavers this year.

    ‘We’re not quite sure until we get there and find out,’ he said, admitting that while early estimates anticipate about 5,000 Schoolies, that number doesn’t factor in private bookings or AirBnB stays.

    The volunteers work round-the-clock during Schoolies week to offer support to the teenagers, from walking them home to ensure they get there safely to cooking pancakes for breakfast the next morning.

    But some locals are concerned the Red Frogs won’t be able to protect Noosa’s pristine beaches and nature.

    Some locals are simply concerned the cash injection isn't worth the potential damage to local beaches and nature reserves

    Some locals are simply concerned the cash injection isn’t worth the potential damage to local beaches and nature reserves

    ‘They have a habit of drinking in parks and leaving rubbish and broken bottles everywhere,’ another resident said.

    ‘Partying til dawn in their AirBnBs, drinking, lighting fires on Main Beach… stay safe everyone.’ 

    Another said: ‘The Gold Coast is refusing to have them. Every Schoolies year has been a disaster… The council always come out at a loss, replacing damaged infrastructure… Good luck Noosa.’

    Damning photographs taken at various Schoolies events across the Gold Coast in recent years show beaches littered with rubbish from the night before. 

    According to Schoolies.com chief executive Matt Lloyd, the lack of school leavers travelling to the Gold Coast over the next two weeks will cost the region tens of millions of dollars.

    ‘It’s disappointing for building managers and unit owners but hopefully things will return to some sort of normality in 2021,’ he said.

    Red Frog volunteers - who usually offer support to teens during their stay - will also skip the Glitter Strip, instead deploying at least 100 people north to Noosa

    Red Frog volunteers – who usually offer support to teens during their stay – will also skip the Glitter Strip, instead deploying at least 100 people north to Noosa

    Tourism Noosa chief executive officer Melanie Anderson said Schoolies who choose Noosa as their destination of choice are likely not coming 'to party' given venues close early and there aren't any night clubs. Instead, she hopes they will behave responsibly and enjoy the dining and facilities on offer. Pictured: A restaurant on Noosa's Main Beach

    Tourism Noosa chief executive officer Melanie Anderson said Schoolies who choose Noosa as their destination of choice are likely not coming ‘to party’ given venues close early and there aren’t any night clubs. Instead, she hopes they will behave responsibly and enjoy the dining and facilities on offer. Pictured: A restaurant on Noosa’s Main Beach

    ‘Once the government cancelled the official celebrations on the Gold Coast, we started to see a lot of interest in Noosa and it’s gathered momentum.’

    ‘I’d say the numbers heading to Noosa will be in the thousands.’

    While tens of thousands of school leavers normally descend on the Gold Coast in the last two weeks of November, others flood Bali or Fiji for other official celebrations.

    With international travel halted as a result of the pandemic, Noosa has become one of the most sought after destinations.

    Others are choosing to still go to the Gold Coast for unofficial celebrations, while Airlie Beach and Byron Bay have proven popular choices, as well.

    Pictured: Melanie Anderson

    Pictured: Melanie Anderson

    ‘They won’t have events to keep them safe and occupied, so they will be roaming the street drunk and with no destination. They can’t dance in a club or watch a band… It’ll be chaos,’ one Noosa local warned. 

    ‘I hate Schoolies. We took my boy and two of his mates to Fiji during Schoolies. Not because they deserved it but because it was a good time to have a holiday and remove them from the insanity.’ 

    ‘While I’m happy they’re celebrating, I’m concerned with the damage and environmental impact this will have on the national park and our beautiful beach.’ 

    But most locals are excited to see the main street and beaches packed once more after the Covid pandemic flattened the economy – which relies significantly on tourism.

    Investors are ‘taking a chance’ and renting their homes to groups of teenagers while businesses are putting on extra staff to cope with demand and security to monitor the venues.

    Most locals are excited to see the main street and beaches packed once more after the Covid pandemic flattened the economy - which relies significantly on tourism. Pictured: Schoolies at an earlier celebration on the Gold Coast

    Most locals are excited to see the main street and beaches packed once more after the Covid pandemic flattened the economy – which relies significantly on tourism. Pictured: Schoolies at an earlier celebration on the Gold Coast

    More than 20,000 partygoers descended on the Glitter Strip in 2019 - and school leavers are expected to arrive in Noosa in droves in 2020

    More than 20,000 partygoers descended on the Glitter Strip in 2019 – and school leavers are expected to arrive in Noosa in droves in 2020

    The overwhelming response to the Schoolies criticism – particularly from the younger demographic – is to ‘harden up’. 

    There’s more to Noosa than just being God’s waiting room. Young adults are as welcome here as anyone else. They deserve to celebrate after the year they’ve had,’ one woman said.    

    Tourism Noosa chief executive officer Melanie Anderson also said locals should be thrilled by the influx of tourists.

    ‘We don’t have nightclubs so they’re not coming here to party,’ she said.

    ‘We’re not the Gold Coast, we do shut down fairly early… There are rules when you come to Noosa. You have to respect them.

    ‘We’re encouraging them to have fun but to do so respectfully.’

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