From the ed­i­tor's desk


CON­GRAT­U­LA­TIONS to all the award win­ners at the Whit­sun­day Tourism and Business Awards on Satur­day night.

There were a to­tal of 18 award win­ners across the 27 cat­e­gories.

Five busi­nesses - Ocean Raft­ing, Mag­nums Back­pack­ers, Whit­sun­day Es­cape, Day­dream Is­land Re­sort and Spa and Air­lie Day Spa - were all en­tered into the Hall of Fame – mean­ing they had won in a par­tic­u­lar cat­e­gory three years in a row.

Spe­cial con­grat­u­la­tions to Al Grundy who was the win­ner of the award for in­di­vid­ual con­tri­bu­tion to tourism.

It was nice to lis­ten to the pos­i­tive speeches with lo­cal tourism op­er­a­tors talk­ing about hav­ing a great year in business.

It is no co­in­ci­dence that our tourism in­dus­try is cel­e­brat­ing in a year when we have ex­tra flights in­tro­duced for the Whit­sun­days.

In April, Tig­erair started fly­ing di­rectly be­tween Proser­pine and Syd­ney.

Qan­tas also added Hamil­ton Is­land to their route. It is also no co­in­ci­dence that many tourism op­er­a­tors have been re­port­ing down times in re­cent years with less flights.

The di­rect flights be­tween Syd­ney and Proser­pine pre­vi­ously op­er­ated by Jet­star and Vir­gin stopped in mid-2008.

We all know that many fac­tors have af­fected our tourism in­dus­try since then in­clud­ing the GFC and the value of the Aus­tralian dol­lar but the flights have also been a ma­jor is­sue.

Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil won an award on Satur­day night for the Whit­sun­day Coast Air­port.

The mayor Jen­nifer Whit­ney has also an­nounced that the air­port has posted the best quar­ter re­sult on record with more than 72,000 pas­sen­gers pass­ing through the ter­mi­nal dur­ing July, Au­gust and Septem­ber.

She says that coun­cil is con­tin­u­ing to work with air­lines and in­vestors to ex­pand ex­ist­ing flight routes, add new routes and de­velop the air­port it­self.

We will con­tinue to see a grow­ing tourism in­dus­try if our air­port con­tin­ues to grow.

There is no doubt that air ac­cess is one of the most im­por­tant fac­tors to the growth of the in­dus­try.

Leanne Aber­nethy

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