$25 million to help Whitsunday tourism 'bounce back'
THE Whitsundays could see underwater statues, art sculptures, coral gardening and a raft of other tourist attractions under a $25 million election commitment announced today.
Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones visited the Airlie Beach Lagoon today to pledge the Great Barrier Reef Island rejuvenation funds - with Tourism Whitsundays, Local Government and the State Government to decide on how to get the best bang for their buck.
Tourism Whitsundays CEO Craig Turner said this was what the region needed to ensure the 750,000 visitors which visit the Whitsundays continue to enjoy "world class" experiences.
"The Minister was very clear, this isn't money to clean up island resorts, it's investing in infrastructure and assets to position us going forward post Cyclone Debbie," he said.
"Money could be spent on improving Whitehaven and additional above water attractions and activities and small walks.
"We said to her that $3-4 million could go towards underwater art sculptures and assets that increase the visitor experience."
The funding will be delivered under the Reef Resort Rejuvenation Fund which will prioritise projects focused on "cleaning, greening and growing.”
This will mean the removal of waste from island resorts, promotion of more environmentally friendly experiences and encouraging further development of facilities such as vessel moorings, new and improved public amenities and developing public walks.
Mr Turner said Mrs Jones led with "action, not words" and made seven visits to the Whitsundays since Cyclone Debbie.
"She is very keen to make sure the Whitsundays bounces back and better than ever... all I'd ask of the other (Whitsunday) candidates is to tell us what does tourism mean to them?" he said.
"I would encourage all candidates to meet with me and the Chairman of the board of Tourism Whitsundays to provide us with their blueprint and plan going forward."
Labor candidate for Whitsunday Bronwyn Taha talked up Labor's investment in tourism.
"This will help the industry get back on its feet, it will create more jobs and it will be decided between Council, Tourism Whitsundays and the State Government as to what the Whitsundays needs to move forward," she said.
"We've invested in the Whitsunday Coast Airport which will bring more visitors into the region, but we need to develop our tourism industry. We have a beautiful part of the world, so lets work with stakeholders and find out how we can invest."
Ms Jones visited the new water park which has recently been installed at the Big 4 Whitsunday Adventure Resort before proceeding to Proserpine State High School.
Comment is being sought from Jason Costigan.