An evaluation of last year’s total solar eclipse suggests the economic benefits of the event to the region were almost double those anticipated.
Initial estimates of $75 million were largely understated according to a report based on visitor figures collated by economic development organisation, Advance Cairns.
The report revealed the 50,000 to 60,000 visitors to the region injected up to $130 million into the local economy.
According to a Cairns Regional Council spokesperson, the figures were ascertained through feedback from accommodation providers, festival organisers and Cairns Airport.
"The visitor numbers were then run through a standard calculation model that is provided by Tourism Queensland, which looks at the number of domestic travellers, international travellers, types of accommodation, length of stay and other factors in determining an average spend per person," the spokesperson said.
"Feedback from the business community has supported the computer-generated figures in terms of actual expenditure."
Acting Mayor Terry James said the benefits from the eclipse extended well beyond the the event itself.
“On top of the immediate benefits associated with having high numbers of visitors in what is traditionally a slower period on the tourism calendar is the national and international exposure, which is priceless," Cr James said.
“Word-of-mouth is the most effective marketing tool available and when tens of thousands of people come to a destination like ours for a major event and have a positive experience, they will want to share that experience with others.
“The solar eclipse will be one of those events that people will look back on in 20 years’ time – everyone who saw it will remember where they were on November 14, 2012,” Cr James said.
Port Douglas' Four Mile Beach was a popular viewing location attracting thousands of people along the famous stretch of sand, while others took to the water to watch the eclipse from the Great Barrier Reef.