Gold Coast Commonwealth Games chairman Peter Beattie is urging people to come to the Gold Coast, as some local businesses complain the city is a “ghost town”.
Mr Beattie said people who may have stayed away in fear of traffic chaos should not be scared to make the trip down the M1.
He said crowds were building and patrons should spread their business throughout the city.
“Some restaurants are incredibly over-booked and some are under-booked,” Mr Beattie said.
“People are in restaurants — the issue is I think probably not being shared universally.
“Naturally the campaign we ran about getting people off the M1 worked — we didn’t want people on the M1 because we all know the M1 is a bit of a dog, so the last thing we wanted was people on it.
“We wanted them on public transport — the locals know exactly what I’m talking about here I’m not going to hide what it is.”
Mr Beattie said thousands were using public transport to get to Games events.
“At the end of it people have got on public transport — 61,000 people yesterday,” he said.
“What we need to do is say there is capacity, even on the road.”
Business ‘pretty quiet, pretty tough’
Broadbeach shoe shop owner Grayson Pearse said he was disappointed at how quiet business has been.
“It’s not as good as we’d like — it’s been pretty quiet, pretty tough,” he said.
Mr Pearse said he did not think Commonwealth Games Corporation’s plea for people to visit the Coast would help foot traffic.
“People have made their decisions and I just think they haven’t got the time now to come down here,” he said.
“It’s a bit of a wash-out so hopefully next week is better than it has been, but time will tell.”
Plenty of parking for restaurants, bars
Mr Beattie said there was plenty of parking on the Gold Coast to access local businesses.
“I’ll get into trouble for saying that but you can get here, you can get parks,” Mr Beattie said.
“Get into the local restaurants, get into the local bars.
“So if you’re in Brisbane and you’re worried, come down, there’s plenty of space.
“If you left because you were worried about it, you made a mistake — come back.”
Broadbeach salon owner Ronda Russell said the message was getting out that people should not be scared to go to the shops.
“The first four days have been really quite slow and I’m surprised the roads were so quiet,” Ms Russell said.
“But now it’s starting to warm up and starting to get more people in cars and I think people know they can come out and have fun — I think this next week is going to be much busier.”
‘Easy to get around the Gold Coast’
Ashleigh Marshall is visiting from Canberra for the Games, and said crowds were starting to pick up.
“It’s definitely been very easy to get around the Gold Coast the last couple of days,” she said.
“Certainly it seems traffic has been a lot slower than usual.”
She said she thought a lot of locals had taken the time to go and do other things during Queensland’s school holidays.
“But there are still a lot of people getting to the events so that’s been good,” she said.
“Out on the streets it is only the first few days, so maybe it has been a little bit flat, but I think today on the weekend there’s a few more people about enjoying the Gold Coast.”
Andrew Paterson drove his two children Hamish, 10, and Rennah, 12, to the Gold Coast from Brisbane on Saturday and said transport had been easy so far.
“There’s definitely been some scare-mongering about getting down here,” Mr Paterson said.
“We were worried — we got down here an hour earlier than we thought we needed to because of the traffic, but it was easy to get down.”
Mr Paterson said his advice to other Brisbane residents was to make the journey.
“Get down here, it’s great. Beautiful weather, plenty of events to go to. Go Gold Coast.”