Busi­ness is mind­ful of the chal­lenges ahead

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - AL GRUNDY Tourism Whit­sun­days chair­man

I WOULD like to start the col­umn this week by ac­knowl­edg­ing the ef­forts of Mayor An­drew Will­cox and our CEO Craig Turner who have done a lot of ad­vo­cacy work at all lev­els of government.

Re­cent fund­ing an­nounce­ments for Tourism In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment and Tourism Mar­ket­ing are a pleas­ant sur­prise and are largely at­trib­ut­able to them both.

It was ex­cit­ing to learn that dur­ing 2016 the Whit­sun­days be­came the most pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for vis­i­tors to ex­pe­ri­ence the reef and the is­lands of the GBR, with 44% of all com­mer­cial vis­its to the ma­rine park tak­ing place here.

It was won­der­ful to see the cruise ships in the Whit­sun­days since Easter and town has been buzzing.

The feed­back we’ve re­ceived from cruise ships is that their guests’ ex­pe­ri­ence have been very good.

While things are im­prov­ing, we do un­der­stand there are still chal­lenges ahead of us and there are those that are go­ing through a dif­fi­cult pe­riod.

While we are say­ing we are open for busi­ness, we re­main mind­ful of those chal­lenges.

On the mar­ket­ing front, it was timely that the Tourism Whit­sun­days East Coast Road­show took place last week.

Dur­ing the road­show, tourism op­er­a­tors along with Tourism Whit­sun­day staff trained over 500 re­tail travel agents in Bris­bane, Sydney and Mel­bourne, pro­vid­ing up­dates on the re­gion and spe­cific in­for­ma­tion about each of the in­di­vid­ual prod­ucts rep­re­sented.

In Sydney, we also caught up with Tourism Aus­tralia (TA) and pre­sented to 56 TA staff on the Whit­sun­days re­gion. This hasn’t oc­curred for some years and our pre­sen­ta­tion was well re­ceived by the team at TA.

To ev­ery­one within the tourism in­dus­try, while we go through a chal­leng­ing pe­riod, one of the things we can en­sure is to pro­vide great cus­tomer ser­vice, even a smile and a wel­come ‘hello’ goes a long way.

We live in a spec­tac­u­lar lo­ca­tion and while there is some dam­age, we re­main Aus­tralia’s iconic sail­ing, reef and is­land hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion.

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