Tourism Whitsundays general manager Natassia Wheeler.
Tourism Whitsundays general manager Natassia Wheeler. Contributed

Business as usual for tourism in the Whitsundays

IT WILL be business as usual for tourism operators in the Whitsundays these school holidays, despite two shark attacks at Cid Harbour last week.

Tourism Whitsundays general manager Natassia Wheeler said she hoped visitors would continue their plans to come to the area.

"With school holidays in full swing, we certainly hope this incident will not discourage or deter anyone from enjoying a Whitsundays holiday and we urge visitors not to change their upcoming plans to visit the amazing Whitsundays," she said.

"September and October are ideal months of the year to visit the Whitsundays, with mild weather making it the perfect time to partake in a range of activities that the Whitsundays is renowned for, such as visiting Whitehaven Beach, snorkelling, hiking and diving. It is, and will continue to be, business as usual for our resilient tourism sector."

Tasmanian woman Justine Barwick was bitten by a shark on Wednesday evening, while 12-year-old Victorian Hannah Papps was also bitten in Cid harbour the following day.

Ms Wheeler said the attacks that occurred last week were "extremely rare" in the Whitsunday waters and Tourism Whitsundays praised the actions and rapid response of all emergency personnel involved.

"We again want to express our sympathies and thoughts to the victims and victims' families during this difficult time," she said.

According to Ms Wheeler, Tourism Whitsundays' priority was now on providing ongoing support to its members and the wider tourism industry.

"Tourism Whitsundays has reached out to all members offering our support and we remain available to provide advice to our members should they require it," she said.

"It is far too early to quantify or speculate on the impact to tourism following these incidents, however we are currently monitoring any changes in bookings to better understand the implications, if any."

Ms Wheeler said the safety and enjoyment of people coming to the Whitsundays remained front-of-mind for the tourism industry and Tourism Whitsundays encouraged all people entering the water to be vigilant and take the necessary safety precautions, such as not entering the water at night, dawn or dusk.


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