Townsvillians opt to go local for holiday breaks
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.
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.\