The Whitsundays visitor numbers continue to rise in boost for Queensland economy


The Whitsundays saw more than 100,000 people visit the region in the past three months following the opening of state borders, according to Whitsunday Coast Airport.

The latest figures follow the National Visitor Survey, which highlighted that The Whitsundays delivered a record $1.1 billion in visitor expenditure to the Queensland economy for the year ending 31 March 2022, and a record 581,000 visitors from intrastate and southern states.

The Whitsundays is the most tourism-reliant region in Queensland with one in three jobs directly related to tourism, and 40 per cent of all visitation to the Great Barrier Reef departing from within the region.

Queensland Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe has announced there is currently a review of the Tourism Network Funding Model to reflect the changes that have happened in tourism since the last change in funding in 2018.

Tourism Whitsundays CEO Rick Hamilton said he believed that with increased funding the region is in a strong position to continue to deliver for the tourism industry.

“With the return of cruise ships and backpackers coming into the region, we will continue facing challenges to remain globally competitive to rebuild inbound tourism and compete against other domestic and international markets, but we know that The Whitsundays can continue to play a vital role in boosting the State’s economy, with enough funding support,” said Hamilton.

Tourism operators in The Whitsundays and Tropical North Queensland have also been recognised again in this year’s top 50 experiences across Queensland in the Best of Queensland Experiences.

“This accolade highlights the efforts of all the exceptional and dedicated tourism operators in our region and the essential contribution they continue to make to the Queensland economy,” Hamilton said.

Hinchliffe also recently announced a new $15 million Tourism Experience Development Fund for operators to refresh existing attractions or lay the foundations for new experiences.

“The fund is part of the Palaszczuk Government’s response to the independent Tourism Industry Reference Panel’s Action Plan for Tourism Recovery,” Hinchliffe said.

“In the Towards 2032 Action Plan, the Panel has recommended to stay cutting-edge relevant we should continually reimagine and reinvent our visitor economy.

“The $15 million Tourism Experience Development Fund is designed to help tourism operators bring their ideas to life.”

Fund applications will close on 26 August 2022.