Tourist enjoying the white Beaches, Whitsunday Islands, Queensland, Australia
Tourist enjoying the white Beaches, Whitsunday Islands, Queensland, Australia

Whitsunday Christmas proved popular for southerners

Tourists chasing a slice of paradise flocked to the Whitsundays for the silly season despite a year of sanitising and social distancing.

Figures from December 2020 show about 33,000 people passed through Whitsunday Coast Airport.

This was just 5000 people less than December 2019, which was the busiest Christmas period for the airport on record.

Whitsunday Regional Council’s aviation and tourism CEO Craig Turner said the numbers were quite an achievement considering travel challenges from COVID.

“We had a really good December and that’s showing in our numbers,” he said.

About 33,000 tourists travelled through Whitsunday Coast Airport in December 2020. Picture: Whitsunday Regional Council
About 33,000 tourists travelled through Whitsunday Coast Airport in December 2020. Picture: Whitsunday Regional Council

“I think you can see that translating into town, town was flat out, and still is.”

Mr Turner said the challenge now would be driving flights into February and March as the wet season takes hold.

This would include a push to boost the number of flights from Melbourne as a question mark remains over Sydney with travel restrictions still in place.

Mr Turner said there were a large number of tourists transiting from Melbourne into the Whitsundays and hoped the industry could continue to draw Victorians to the Sunshine State.

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Flights from Adelaide are also on the radar with an option for travellers to trade wine for Whitehaven.

“At the end of the day, if we can continue to grow the flight schedules out of those destinations that are actually driving good volume, then we think we’ve got a compelling case with the airlines to drop more flights on,” Mr Turner said.

“Once things settle down, we think that our numbers will continue to remain strong, but that doesn’t mean we’re taking it for granted.

“We’re going to work hard to make sure that we’re in front of those potential customers.”