Extra services a welcome stimulus: Chamber
THREE new Virgin Australia flights arriving in the Whitsundays could be the boost needed for the economy to ride out a cyclone-induced slump, according to the Whitsunday Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber president Allan Milostic said last month's suspension of Tigerair flights to the Whitsundays from Brisbane was felt by main street business in Airlie Beach.
But this week Mr Milostic was upbeat about the more than 27,000 passengers potentially arriving each year at Whitsunday Coast Airport.
"Especially if the flights are affordable, it will make a massive difference,” he said.
"It's fantastic, anything that helps the domestic tourism market is a good thing.”
The Whitsunday Regional Council said on Friday the increased arrival numbers could equate to $30 million being spent in the region.
"Anything that makes it easier for people's families to visit them from Sydney or Melbourne or wherever. Those direct flights are a lot easier than having to stop in Brisbane and change planes.”
Mr Milostic said it would take time for the stimulus of any new flights to be felt.
But, with Daydream Island expected to come back online in late 2018, Hayman Island to follow and rumours that work was to begin on South Molle Island, the signs for the mainland economy were good.
Talk of direct flights between Cairns and the Whitsundays was also a positive sign, Mr Milostic said.
Virgin Australia general manager of network, revenue and alliances Russell Shaw said, "our additional flights between Brisbane and Proserpine will give local and overseas visitors even more reasons to travel to the Whitsundays and see the beauty and magic of the region for themselves”.
"North Queensland is an incredible destination and we're proud to support the local economy through increased tourism opportunities,” he said.