|New South Wales 51
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Welcome to the Whitsundays - Heart of the Great Barrier Reef will be the messaging when Whitsunday Coast Airport (WCA) becomes travel central from December 1 with direct flights to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne resuming.
Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox welcomed State Government’s decision to open the borders to greater Sydney and Victoria from next Tuesday.
“The great news for the Whitsundays is that there will be more weekly flights next month than at our operating peak pre-COVID-19,” he said.
“Tourism is one of our three key pillars and having our airport back operating at record capacity is a remarkable achievement.
"The airport team have been proactive in positioning WCA at the front of the airline queue for resuming flights to make it easy to visit the wonderful Whitsundays.
"It is so important for our tourism stakeholders and businesses that the Whitsunday Coast Airport plays a leading role in kick-starting our region's economic recovery," Mayor Willcox said.
“We have also gone the extra mile to ensure the safety of our community with the addition of a new D-Link Thermal Camera for temperature body scanning proving an invaluable tool in reducing Covid-19 risks.
"The thermal camera can assess up to 30 people simultaneously and alert security staff to anybody recording a high temperature reading.
“If a passenger does record a high temperature they are diverted to undergo further checks,” he said.
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Palaszczuk Government’s $15 million Aviation Recovery Fund would support Virgin Australia services from Sydney and Jetstar services from Melbourne.
“This is great news for the region and Australians, because everybody deserves a Whitsundays holiday,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“Support from the Palaszczuk Government’s Aviation Recovery Fund means every week three Virgin Australia flights from Sydney and three Melbourne Jetstar services will touch down in the Whitsundays.
“These flights will land an estimated $6.6 million in overnight visitor spending and support more than 50 jobs in the Whitsundays.
“The Palaszczuk Government’s Aviation Recovery Fund is getting visitors back in the air as quickly as possible to support jobs and fast-track the Whitsunday’s COVID economic recovery plan.
“After COVID-19, Sydney and Melbourne are desperate for a holiday in the tropical sun and we know it’s hard to beat the Whitsundays for the perfect break.”
Across Queensland, the Palaszczuk Government’s Aviation Recovery Fund has so far supported 17 services, worth an estimated $63.5 million in overnight visitor stays and support for 515 jobs.
Chief Operating Officer - Aviation and Tourism Craig Turner said it was important to move quickly as borders reopen.
“Growing connectivity by air is so important to speed up the recovery of our region.
“We will now have two airlines, Jetstar and Virgin into the huge Sydney catchment and this is the first time in 15 years that Virgin will fly the Whitsunday-Sydney route direct.
"At our peak in December we will have a record high of over 10,300 passengers transiting in and out of the region weekly," Mr Turner said.
"We are focusing on leveraging the pent-up travel demand of the huge domestic population bases of Sydney and Melbourne to holiday in the wonderful Whitsundays.
"We know Australians are itching for a great holiday and these increased flights will help to ensure that our region capitalises on this demand."