Back­yard bliss

Townsvil­lians opt to go lo­cal for hol­i­day breaks

Townsville Bulletin - - Just Briefly - — JOSH AL­STON By JES­SICA JOHN­STON

TOWNSVILLE res­i­dents were more likely to travel in their own back yard than ex­plore fur­ther afield in 2006.

But a lack of flights from Townsville Air­port may have con­trib­uted to the trend.

A whop­ping 55 per cent of 1079 re­spon­dents to the travel sec­tion of a Townsville Bul­letin read­ers sur­vey said they pre­ferred to stay in Queens­land for their hol­i­days.

Forty-six per cent of them went on to say there were not enough flights ser­vic­ing the re­gion — a mas­sive 28 per cent in­crease on the year be­fore.

Townsville

En­ter­prise CEO Glenys Schunt­ner said Townsville En­ter­prise had launched a travel cam­paign in the wake of Cy­clone Larry, which may have led to in­creased travel in the re­gion.

Twenty-eight per cent of re­spon­dents said they stayed in North Queens­land for breaks and 27 per cent travel to an­other part of Queens­land.

‘‘In the last year, be­cause of the im­pacts Cy­clone Larry had on the re­gion, we started a spe­cial cam­paign to en­cour­age peo­ple to see their own back yard and travel in the re­gion,’’ Ms Schunt­ner said.

‘‘It’s fan­tas­tic­news that the com­mu­nity seem to have em­braced the cam­paign and are trav­el­ling and spend­ing their money lo­cally.’’

But Ms Schunt­ner said Townsville En­ter­prise was also deeply con­cerned about air­line ser­vices in Townsville.

‘‘We cer­tainly have the same con­cerns as mem­bers of the com­mu­nity and we would like to see more flights ser­vic­ing Townsville.’’

She said Qan­tas hand­ing its Syd­ney route to Jet­star may have led to dis­con­tent among trav­ellers.

‘‘There were fewer seats to Syd­ney than last year. Jet­star has taken over a daily Qan­tas ser­vice with five flights a week.’’

Thirty-eight per cent of re­spon­dents iden­ti­fied Bris­bane as the des­ti­na­tion that needed more flights, with Syd­ney com­ing in sec­ond at 22 per cent.

Ms Schunt­ner agreed Bris­bane was one of the ar­eas where there was strong de­mand for more flights.

And she did not dis­count the chance that Townsville could be­come an in­ter­na­tional air­port once again.

‘‘We are par­tic­u­larly keen to ex­pand to Bris­bane, Syd­ney and Melbourne, but we also want to con­sider places like Dar­win and New Zealand.’’

Yet 57 per cent said Jet­star had pro­vided a good ad­di­tion to the flight sched­ule.

Forty-two per cent had flown Jet­star in the last year and 44 per cent of them rated the ex­pe­ri­ence good or ex­cel­lent.

‘‘The di­rect ser­vice be­tween Townsville and Melbourne has been in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar,’’ Ms Schunt­ner said.

But 21 per cent still felt there was not nearly enough flights and 23 per cent think the flights are at in­con­ve­nient times.

Ms Schunt­ner said Townsville En­ter­prise was in con­stant ne­go­ti­a­tion with air­lines and air­ports to im­prove ser­vices for both res­i­dents and vis­i­tors to the city.

How­ever Ms Schunt­ner said cur­rent flights were not full and she urged Townsville res­i­dents to sup­port the cur­rent sched­ule if they wanted ad­di­tional flights.\

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