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Visitors return to the Whitsundays after Cyclone Debbie

Visitors return to the Whitsundays after Cyclone Debbie
September 27, 2017

A joint marketing campaign between Tourism and Events Queensland and Flight Centre, Virgin Australia and Infinity Holidays is helping to drive a return of visitors from across to the Whitsundays in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie.

The marketing push following the devastating Category 4 storm, included $1 million worth of support to sell Queensland destinations interstate as well as a targeted advertising campaign across TV, radio and social media.

Announcing the results on World Tourism Day, Queensland Tourism and Major Events Minister Kate Jones explained that the money had been well spent.

Minister Jones stated “the number of people who booked a trip to the Whitsundays through Flight Centre in June increased 18% while in July there was a massive 44% increase.

“The numbers are just as impressive in terms of room nights with accommodation booked through Infinity Holidays increasing 10% in May and 17% in June.

“In July, that figure grew even further to an increase of 52% year-on-year for the number of room nights booked through Infinity Holidays.”

Flight Centre Head of Customer Experience Darren Wright said the company was impressed by the results, advising "Australians are very supportive of our regional tourism markets so we knew it would only be a matter of time before people started flocking back to the beautiful Whitsundays for their holidays.

"These figures show an incredibly strong resurgence for the region and prove that even during winter, you can't beat a Queensland holiday.”

Minister Jones said the digital aspect of the campaign was also strong, with digital advertising recording nearly six million impressions and reaching more than 2.8 million people.

She added “advertising on Facebook generated an extra 2.8 million impressions, reaching nearly 850,000 people.

“Following Cyclone Debbie we knew how important it was to send the message that the region was open for business and was still one of the best places in Australia to visit for a holiday.

“The best way to support our tourism industry was to take a holiday at home and encourage others to do the same so they too could enjoy the unique and unrivalled experiences on offer throughout Queensland.

“Tourism in the Whitsundays alone is worth $1.6 billion and supports more than 7000 local jobs which is why it was so important the Palaszczuk Government acted quickly and decisively after Cyclone Debbie.”

Tourism Whitsundays Chief Executive Craig Turner said the results were great news for the Whitsundays, commenting “these are fantastic results off the back of these marketing campaigns and they really speak for themselves.

“We are very grateful to Minister Kate Jones for her support of the Whitsundays and also our trade partners Flight Centre, Virgin Australia and Infinity Holidays and of course Tourism and Events Queensland, who we work side-by-side with.

“The Whitsundays might have experienced an extreme weather event in March but looking out the window now you would never know.

“Our tourism operators have been absolutely fantastic in the ensuing months, getting out there and doing what they do every day, delivering the same excellent service and experience.

“The Whitsundays offers a premium Great Barrier Reef experience, including being able to see the iconic Heart Reef, as well as island and mainland experiences, so we really do have it all when it comes to holidaying in Australia and it is very heartening to see Australian holidaymakers coming to region and supporting us”.

Islands redevelopments fast-tracked 
Further backing for the recovery of the Whitsundays has seen two holiday island projects gain special status with the Queensland Government granting special status to the $100 million Hayman Island project and a $65 million repair and refurbishment of Daydream Island.

The Queensland Office of the Coordinator-General has been working closely with the proponents of the Hayman Island project - Mulpha Australia Limited - and the Daydream Island Resort and Spa to ensure the resorts are up and running next year.

Commenting on the projects, Minister Jones advised “Hayman Island project works include the removal of debris and damaged infrastructure, redevelopment of the resort’s accommodation and staffing village, and extensive replacement of exotic species landscaping.

“The repair and refurbishment of Daydream Island will include removing debris and damaged infrastructure and redeveloping the resort’s accommodation, dining, recreational, reception and facilities.

“A desalination plant is also in the works to improve security of water supply, and creating a safe harbour through the development of existing rock wall protection.

“These projects are among $14 billion in new tourism infrastructure for Queensland in the pipeline right now.”

Mulpha Australia Limited Chief Executive Greg Shaw welcomed the announcement, adding “this is an important step on restoring Hayman Island Resort to it’s iconic luxury resort status following the impact of Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

“Hayman is recognised as a one of the greatest luxury experiences in the world and is one of Australia’s most recognised and highly awarded tourism assets.It is an integral part of the Whitsundays tourism economy and will again provide an enormous boost to the local economy on reopening in late 2018.

“We are working hard on Hayman’s restart, and we look forward to the resort once again employing 350-400 staff and welcoming guests from all around Australia and the world.” 

Images: Promoting the Whitsundays (top), post storm recovery work at the famous Whitehaven Beach (middle) and Hayman Island (below).

26th September 2017 - DESTINATION MELBOURNE COMMITS TO WORLD TOURISM DAY 2017 

22nd September 2017 - GROWTH ONGOING IN AUSTRALIAN TOURISM AS SPENDING EXCEEDS $103 BILLION

12th May 2017 - STATE TOURISM BODIES SEE ‘MISSED OPPORTUNITIES’ IN FEDERAL BUDGET 

11th May 2017 - WHITEHAVEN BEACH REOPENS AFTER RESTORATION AND CLEAN-UP 

10th April 2017 - DAYDREAM ISLAND’S $50 MILLION REDEVELOPMENT BROUGHT FORWARD

2nd April 2017 - TOURISM INDUSTRY TO REBUILD AFTER CYCLONE DEBBIE

29th March 2017 - QUEENSLAND TOURISM INDUSTRY RALLIES FOLLOWING CYCLONE DEBBIE 

24th August 2015 - LINDEMAN ISLAND RESORT PROJECT MOVES FORWARD

7th June 2015 - TIRED ISLAND RESORTS HURT THE APPEAL OF GREAT BARRIER REEF TOURISM 

2nd February 2015 - CHINESE INVESTORS BUY DAYDREAM ISLAND


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