The Member for Whitsunday, Jason Costigan, returns to the beach made famous by Friday's World Bikini Day social media post.
The Member for Whitsunday, Jason Costigan, returns to the beach made famous by Friday's World Bikini Day social media post. Peter Carruthers

Any publicity is good publicity in 'Bikini Gate' wash-up

IN THE wash-up to the International Bikini Day furore, the consensus from the Whitsunday tourism industry is "any publicity is good publicity”.

After posting photos of himself with two 20-something bikini-clad visitors from the UK and the Netherlands, the Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan was branded a "sleazebag” by the Queensland Deputy Premier, Jackie Trad.

The story dominated headlines in the national press, gained extensive coverage across most North Queensland radio networks and received a mention in the international media through the Daily Mail website.

Tourism Whitsundays General Manager Natassia Wheeler said it had been a difficult 12 months for the Whitsunday tourism industry in dealing with the fallout of Cyclone Debbie.

"(And) any publicity that generates exposure to a global audience is certainly something we are excited about for the Whitsundays,” she said. "A reach into the UK being one of our core target markets is fantastic.

"At the moment with the campaigns we have available, we hope that this generates reignited interest in the destination for travellers over the next 12 months.”

Mr Costigan, speaking to the Whitsunday Times on Monday, had a dig at the Queensland Minister for Tourism, Kate Jones and suggested "if they (Queensland Labor) want some tips on how to promote the Whitsundays (then) come and speak to the guru.”

Ms Wheeler said attracting the attention of an international audience was often difficult and Mr Costigan's bikini stunt did just that.

"All destinations are always looking for stunts in a global level and this has achieved that,” she said.

"Everybody in politics has their way of doing things and I don't think you can take it away from Jason, he does have the Whitsundays best interests at heart.”


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