Plenty of opportunity
AS A regular visitor to the Whitsundays who subscribes to the Whitsunday Times from Sydney, I felt compelled to comment on two stories in last week’s edition.
I am a property owner in Airlie Beach and my next trip will my 37th in 13 years.
My wife and I love the place and see enormous opportunity. The lifestyle and climate are fantastic, the people friendly and the natural beauty just outstanding.
But there’s so much more that could and must be done to put Airlie firmly on the map for both international and Australian tourists for the decades ahead.
The new main street is great, but it just the start. The main beach has to be a beautiful white sand beach 24/7 - and turning Airlie's current "beach" into a world class asset would be relatively easy to achieve.
Having hundreds of beach goers on that new beach every day would do wonders for every business on The Esplanade too. And there's nothing wrong with that.
Now to the two stories that made me write to the Editor. It is great to see Abell Point getting a much needed makeover but I'm disappointed that the 'mud pond' is going to be a car park.
That location screams out that it’s much more worthy of something special.
In your letters section Sandra Flisk refers to comments by Rachael Klischter - apparently Rachael and TEQ want to reposition your town.
Please don't let that happen. On my first visit in 2000, I commented that the place was like the 'fountain of youth' - purely because you had thousands of young backpackers enjoying everything Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays has to offer.
By all means - chase the more mature tourists (the money) but not at the expense of the backpackers. It's this latter group who bring life to the place and use social media to tell the world about what they like and don't like, where they've been and what a great time they had.
Can you imagine the lagoon if it was full of 50-75 year olds? Or Magnums? Down Under Bar or Mama Africa? Scary thought.
Social media is king these days whether you like it or not: embrace the prolific users and they'll embrace and transform your great town. By the way I'm a 59 year old baby boomer.
Kevin Lee SYDNEY