GBRMPA figures reveal sign of optimism
AS WE know, throughout this whole weather event, Tourism Whitsundays has been in constant communication with all levels of government.
On Tuesday this week, we were pleased to host Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones, Federal Tourism Minister Steven Ciobo and Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen in the Whitsundays.
The reason for their visit was to announce a substantial funding package to reboot the Whitsunday tourism industry.
The financial and human resources provided by government are critical to kick-starting a return to the strong visitation prior to Cyclone Debbie.
Tourism Whitsundays, along with industry, Tourism and Events Queensland and government departments, are committed to seeing record visitation to the Whitsundays in the short to medium term.
I would like to acknowledge the efforts of the Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox and chief executive officer Barry Omundson who have done a fantastic job throughout this weather event.
Their work, and the work of their whole team, has not gone unnoticed by the Whitsunday community.
The team at National Parks and Wildlife has been working tirelessly and quickly reopened Hill Inlet Walk and Nara Inlet Walk.
It has reshaped the southern end of Whitehaven Beach to restore it to glory.
It also goes without saying that the efforts of volunteers such as those in the SES, and Ergon Energy, who have returned power, are appreciated.
The latest Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Environmental Management Charge visitation numbers were released on Wednesday.
They showed that the Whitsundays has, for the first time, received more than one million visitors to the marine park, at 1,051,000 visitors in 2016, representing 44% of all tourism to the reef.
The Whitsundays is the first Great Barrier Reef destination to exceed one million visitors to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and these numbers reinforce the fact that the Whitsundays is now the destination of choice.