Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

AS OF April 1, Whit­sun­days Mar­ket­ing and De­vel­op­ment Lim­ited will be no more.

On Fri­day, mem­bers voted to sep­a­rate the tourism and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment op­er­a­tions.

Chair­man Trevor Rees was happy with the out­come, say­ing “tourism needs to stand on its own to have a strong voice”.

“For a num­ber of rea­sons, the merger of the two or­gan­i­sa­tions (Tourism Whit­sun­days and En­ter­prise Whit­sun- days) hasn’t thrived as was planned, and it was time to make the move back to two sep­a­rate or­gan­i­sa­tions,” he said.

Mr Rees said things should re­main “busi­ness as usual” from an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment per­spec­tive, with a new en­tity to be es­tab­lished on this front as well.

“How­ever, this process has also given the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment stake­hold­ers and staff an op­por­tu­nity to re­view how to best struc­ture its func- tions and op­er­a­tions, and I am sure there will be new op­por­tu­ni­ties for their new ED also,” he said.

The di­rec­tors of WMDL have been asked to re­sign as of March 31.

“We’ve ba­si­cally got an in­terim board we’ve taken pretty much from the (Tourism Strate­gic Ad­vi­sory Group) board, which are elected mem­bers,” Mr Rees ex­plained to those as­sem­bled.

“This is only an in­terim board and it will come up for elec­tion at the next gen­eral meet­ing.”

TSAG deputy chair Al Grundy said the move to­wards a solely tourism fo­cussed or­gan­i­sa­tion was a pos­i­tive move for the Whit­sun­days.

“With 45% of all marine tourism on the Great Bar­rier Reef gen­er­ated in the Whit­sun­days, we need a strong (re­gional tourism or­gan­i­sa­tion) to fo­cus on our cash cow – our iconic is­lands, beaches and reefs,” he said.

HOORAY: A cheer goes up among WMDL mem­bers for the newly minted Whit­sun­days Tourism Lim­ited. Photo: Rory Sheav­ils

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