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.