TOURISM was the hot talking point at Tuesday’s meet and greet with State Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington.
Ms Frecklington said it had been good to be back the “Wonderful Whitsundays” and called on all Queenslanders to visit to the region on the Christmas break.
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“We are in need of as much Australians so when many tourists as you possibly can to come and revel in the ocean and amazing sights,” she said.
Ms Frecklington acknowledged the spot had experienced crisis during the past couple of years, but praised the tireless efforts of Whitsunday Regional Mayor Andrew Willcox and local businessman Paul Darrouzet who have been “fighting all of the time” for the spot.
“The Whitsundays employs around 6000 people and injects $650 million back to the economy so it’s vital that people support the tourism industry here,” she said.
Mr Darrouzet said Abell Point Marina had bounced back well after Tropical Cyclone Debbie last, and that the focus ought to be locally on encouraging Australians to holiday.
“What we have to do, is understand the complexities of our competition which includes become Bali now, Fiji and the Indonesian archipelago etc,” he said.
“With the low Australia dollar, we must encourage more folks to stay in the home also to explore what we have here now – it is possible to drink the water here, you are not in virtually any danger you understand all those types of things.”
Mr Darrouzet said the recent purchase of Coral Sea Resort will be a boost.
“There will obviously be some work done on the redevelopment of everything, however the basics you can find; it’s got an excellent team, an excellent crew and it’s really well managed and well run,” he said.
“I’m very confident, I’ve put lots of money into this place.”
Cr Willcox said tourism was struggling because there is only 1 island operating. “We’ve only got one island right now, that is Hamilton island, that is a fabulous experience,” he said.
Cr Willcox added once Daydream Island and Hayman Island were operating next, and the possible development of South Molle Island, tourism numbers should begin to rise.
“Once you have more product available, there’s more things for folks to accomplish,” he said.