HAPPY New Year 2024!
I hope you had a wonderful festive season and found some time to relax and rejuvenate with family and friends, whatever you were doing.
For some people, that would have been an action packed holiday somewhere.
For others, it would have been a total shutdown, ‘away from it all’ as they say, with no devices or (shock horror) any social media.
And everything in between, of course. Some people have to work, like bus and taxi drivers and hospitality and retail staff.
Thank you to those people for keeping things going for the rest of us, during the holiday period.
Strong tourism numbers
As we head into the new year, it’s good to see our important tourism industry picking up, which really does have a knock-on effect on other industries and for residents, in general.
In the latest national and international Visitor Survey data, released in December, the Whitsundays continued to see growth over a three-year period, in domestic visitation (figures for the year to September 2023) and international visitation also increased significantly.
A whopping 513,000 domestic travellers visited the Whitsundays, a 15.8 per cent increase over the past three years.
See the Tourism Whitsundays update, by CEO Rick Hamilton, on page 8.
It was also a fantastic Christmas and New Year period for our accommodation houses and tourism operators driven by strong airport figures – see our story on page 1 and 3.
Australia Day is fast Approaching (Friday, January 26) and this year, council’s community celebration is taking place in Bowen.
The celebration will include council’s Australia Day Awards, a Citizenship Ceremony and Welcome to Country.
There will be free family activities, live music and even fireworks. All the fun starts at 5pm, on the Bowen Foreshore. See advert on page 10 of this newspaper for more details.
As always, thanks for reading this newspaper.