WHITSUNDAYS ON WORLD IN­STA­GRAM

Num­ber 2 on In­sta­gram

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - Emily Smith

CLINCH­ING a top-two spot in a list of the world’s “most In­sta­grammable lo­ca­tions” is likely only to bol­ster the in­cred­i­ble growth in the Whit­sun­day tourism mar­ket seen dur­ing the past 12 months.

Data re­leased last week by Tourism Re­search Aus­tralia shows the amount of money spent by tourists in the Whit­sun­day re­gion in­creased by 45% in the fi­nan­cial year end­ing June 2016, com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year.

The fig­ures state that $147m was spent in the re­gion in 2014-2015 while $213m was spent in 2015-2016.

Tourism Whitsundays chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Craig Turner be­lieves up to 32% growth in the “higher yield­ing” Euro­pean and Amer­i­can mar­kets may have at­trib­uted to some of this phe­nom­e­nal growth.

He said the lower Aus­tralian dol­lar in the past fi­nan­cial year was likely to have mo­ti­vated these in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors to come to the re­gion.

But on the whole, he put the growth down to “in­di­vid­ual (tourism sec­tor) op­er­a­tors get­ting out there and work­ing hard”.

A spokesman for State Tourism Min­is­ter Kate Jones said the data showed a dif­fer­ent type of tourist was now com­ing to the Whitsundays – one with lots of money.

While tourists were spend­ing al­most twice as much money, the num­ber of tourists vis­it­ing the re­gion re­mained al­most the same, in­creas­ing 6% in the year.

And while tourists spent 1516 nights in the re­gion in 2014-2015, they spent only 1449 nights in 2015-2016.

The spokesman be­lieved it was the greater of­fer­ing of high end re­sorts and at­trac­tions draw­ing these well-off vis­i­tors to the area.

As well as Europe and Amer­ica, he said a large pro­por­tion of tourists were now com­ing from China.

Abell Point Ma­rina gen­eral manger Luke McCaul said the past year had seen su­pery­achts stay up to a month longer than they had pre­vi­ously.

As the av­er­age su­pery­acht spent $20,000-$50,000 a week, that equated to a sig­nif­i­cant boost to the re­gion’s econ­omy, he said.

That’s why Mr McCaul was con­tin­u­ing to work with the State Govern­ment to en­cour­age more su­pery­achts to the re­gion.

Ear­lier this month, Cos­mopoli­tan Mag­a­zine UK listed the Whit­sun­day is­lands as the num­ber two “most In­sta­grammable” lo­ca­tions in the world, be­hind Mykonos in Greece.

It’s down to in­di­vid­ual op­er­a­tors get­ting out there and work­ing hard. — Craig Turner

PHOTO: PAUL PICHUGIN

PER­FECT: The pic­ture that saw the Whitsundays ranked “sec­ond-most In­sta­grammable lo­ca­tion” in the world.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

English ac­tress Lily James is one of many celebri­ties post­ing Whit­sun­day im­ages on In­sta­gram.

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