‘We will get through this’: Bowen Visitor Centre to close
AFTER a challenging few weeks for the tourism industry, the announcement has been made that Bowen Information Centre and Booth will be temporarily closing down.
The Bowen Tourism and Business committee met earlier in the week to discuss the impacts of COVID-19, making the "difficult decision" to temporarily close the Visitor Information Centre and Booth.
Co-ordinator Christin Short said Bowen Tourism and Business remained "incredibly committed" to the region, businesses and residents.
"It is sad, but it was a decision that was necessary to ensure the safety of staff and volunteers," she said.
"We look forward to being back, we cannot wait to welcome visitors back to the region."
Although the visitor centre officially closed its doors as of March 25, Ms Short said they would still work behind the scenes to promote the area at a time when people were inside and dreaming of their next trip.
"Though no one is travelling right now, people will be dreaming and planning. So we need to keep the Whitsundays at the forefront of people's minds," she said.
"The best way to do that is social media and using local hashtags on all your images.
"We're asking everyone to keep taking photos, while maintaining social distancing, of the area, and hashtag #visitbowen #lovewhitsundays and #thisisqueensland."
Ms Short said they would also be lobbying and working with council and government to support the region, asking all businesses to stay in touch with amended hours or services.
"We're requesting local businesses to keep us up to date, with any business changes or opening hours so we can help promote them wherever we can," she said.
"Let us know if they are struggling, any information people have on the effects of coronavirus on their businesses let us know."
Ms Short said Bowen Tourism and Business would be extending all current memberships to the end of December free of charge, to "ease the pressure" on local businesses.
As the tourism industry struggles both domestically and internationally, Ms Short said they were reviewing and monitoring the situation closely and "positive messaging" was important.
"The industry is suffering quite a lot, the industry needs to work together and stay positive," she said.
"We will get through this, we will be stronger on the other side."