By CEO Rick Hamilton
TWO YEARS ago, we were in the thick of a pandemic with no end in sight; this week, we close out the busiest school holidays, anecdotally, in 20 years.
The return to ‘normal’ has exceeded everyone’s expectations in the last two months.
Friday marks the end of mandatory isolation periods for people testing positive to COVID-19 and hopefully helps to alleviate some of the staff shortage pain, that has affected all businesses, in our region.
Our forecasts show that high visitation is expected to continue through until after Christmas and I hope the reality mirrors that.
Record visitor spend
National Visitor Survey results were released last week and the results for the Whitsundays are further evidence of what we’re experiencing on the ground.
For the 12 months to June 2022, we had record visitor spend of $1.3bn, an increase of 140 per cent on 2019 figures.
Domestic holiday visitor numbers totalled 593,000, a record increase of 34 per cent on 2019 figures, and the total spend per visitor increased 18 per cent to $1,613 per person.
If you drove through town and thought it looked busy, you were right. These stats prove that the Whitsundays has become one of the most desirable holiday destinations in Queensland.
Visitor Information Centre of the year
Continuing the wins – last night our Whitsundays Visitor Information Centre (VIC), located on the highway in Proserpine, won Visitor Information Centre of the Year in the regional Tourism Organisation category, at the 2022 Queensland Information Centres Association (QICA) Awards.
I’d like to thank my team at Tourism Whitsundays and all the volunteers for their passion and dedication to helping all the visitors travelling through or staying in our region.
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held on Thursday, September 29, at Coral Sea Resort.
I am pleased to introduce you to the new board of Tourism Whitsundays: chair Julie Telford, deputy chair Craig Turner, secretary Crystal Lacey, treasurer Trevor Rees, and directors Arpad Romandy, Daniel Gschwind, Greg McKinnon, Jenn Honnery, Matt Boileau and Tom Young.
The board brings a wealth of industry and local knowledge to their positions, and I look forward to working with them for the coming year to further build the Whitsundays brand nationally and internationally.
Please join us at the Whitsundays Tourism Awards on Saturday, October 29, at the Whitsunday Sailing Club (see advert this page).
Help us to celebrate all our operators and businesses, who have delivered an incredible holiday to our visitors in the last financial year.
Tickets are selling fast – to purchase yours visit www.tourismwhitsundays.com.au/Whitsundays-tourism-awards.