Direct flights to improve tourism
Childers businesses get behind push for routes
CHILDERS businesses say any additional routes added to Bundaberg airport could provide a boost in visitors to the Isis region.
Bundaberg Regional Council recently completed a survey to establish where there was the biggest demand for additional routes in and out of Bundaberg.
Council economic development spokesman Greg Barnes said the survey had resulted in an unprecedented response from the community, with the majority of respondents wanting routes to Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns and Townsville.
“These survey results will enable us to bolster our business case as we continue to make representations on behalf of the travelling community and visitors,” Cr Barnes said.
Snakes Downunder Reptile Park co-owner Ian Jenkins said the majority of visitors to his park were from out of town.
“Locals only make up a small amount of our visitations,” he said.
“Most of our driving customers come from the south but any direct flights to and from Sydney or Melbourne would be great for us.”
❝ Ian Jenkins Direct flights to and from Sydney or Melbourne would be great
Hill of Promise Estate co-owner Mary Byrne said it was important plans and packages were put in place to direct visitors to Childers after they landed at Bundaberg or Hervey Bay Airport.
“We can’t stop when the plane lands,” she said.
“We need to provide them with packages so all the work is done for them.
“Visitor economy is vital to the local economy from the newsagent to the baker, as well as businesses such as ourselves.”
However, potential carriers could be put off providing more routes after it was revealed QantasLink was struggling to fill seats on its direct flight from Hervey Bay to Sydney less than a month after it began.
While Qantas insists it has no intention of pulling the pin so soon into the venture, industry sources say the time will soon come for the airline to make a decision based on whether a direct service was viable.
Mr Jenkins said he would be concerned if direct flights from Hervey Bay to Sydney were halted.
“Getting bums on seats is always a problem, so that is a worry,” he said.
“I’m convinced that with time, as it becomes a regular service, people will take it up.”
MORE FLIGHTS NEEDED: Snakes Downunder Reptile Park owner Ian Jenkins with Zeus, an 18-month-old reticulated python. Mr Jenkins would like to see more direct flights to the region to boost tourism.