Tourism

“Shame on you”: Tourism Whitsundays slams 60 Minutes for “unbalanced” reporting

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

Tourism Whitsundays has hit back at “unbalanced” reporting by 60 Minutes, after the program claimed the region was “in a state of disarray”.

The report, aired on Sunday, investigated the closure and abandonment of more than half of the 30 hotels, resorts and bars throughout the Whitsundays, with 9news calling the region “a literal paradise lost”.

“The growing threat of climate change and international holiday habits have seen buyers and developers reluctant to put money or resources into restoring the Whitsundays,” 9news said, adding that Cyclone Yasi had ravaged Lindeman Island and Dunk Island – both are now closed.

Following a multi-million dollar redevelopment, in April, Daydream Island reopened to the public.
Following a multi-million dollar redevelopment, in April, Daydream Island reopened to the public.

Tourism Whitsundays CEO Natassia Wheeler on Monday called the story “unbalanced” and “nothing short of a ratings grab”.

“Last night 60 Minutes aired a story with regard to the islands. This story was not a balanced look at island resorts on the Whitsunday Coast,” Wheeler said in a statement, adding: “While it could have been a sad, disheartening story the fact of the matter is, the Whitsundays have relished in the re-opening of some of the most iconic island resorts following major refurbishments and redevelopment.”

In April, Daydream Island officially re-opened following a $120 million-plus redevelopment. While in July, Hayman Island by InterContinental re-opened after a $135 million redevelopment.

Airlie Beach
The Airlie Beach Foreshore is set to receive an investment of more than $6 million.

Further investments in the region include a multi-million-dollar proposal by the owners of new resort Elysian Retreat on Long Island; a $500 million investment over 10 years by Hamilton Island Enterprises; and a proposal by Lindeman Island for three new resorts, 325 suites and villas for a total development cost of $583 million.

Wheeler said 60 Minutes’ coverage was “crushing” given Tourism Whitsundays joint marketing activity to promote the return of the region.

“With the promise of promoting the region, reminding people that the island resorts are up and running, the mainland and islands are full of amazing experiences for holiday makers to come and enjoy,” she said.

“The disappointment felt at the same network running a ‘beat-up’ story that wasn’t entirely factual was crushing.

“Particularly given the fact that the positive information surrounding the Whitsunday Islands is not a hidden fact.”

Whitsundays Regional Council mayor Andrew Willcox said the report had left out “glaring facts” about the region, including the reopening of Daydream Island and Hayman Island.

“Our tourism industry deserves better and it is basically unAustralian for a media outlet to decide on an agenda that suits their storyline rather than present the true facts,” Willcox said.

“The fact is that we now have seven resorts on islands open across the Whitsunday region most recently with Elysian Retreat, Daydream and Hayman island all welcoming guests.

“Our tourism industry offers outstanding product which is endorsed by our success in winning four national titles at the Australian Tourism Awards.”

The resorts that are currently open throughout the Whitsundays include:

  • Palm Bay Resort
  • Daydream Island Resort
  • InterContinental Hayman Island Resort
  • Hamiliton Island
  • Elysian Retreat
  • Camp Island Lodge, and
  • Whitsunday Apartments Hamilton Island.

Here’s a snapshot of the completed and in progress investment provided by Tourism Whitsundays:

  • $500m+ (over 10 years) Hamilton Island
  • $135m Hayman Island
  • $120m+ Daydream Island
  • $40m Whitsunday Coast Airport
  • $6.3m Airlie Beach Foreshore
  • $500,000 Island Short Walks Infrastructure
  • $2m Hill Inlet upgrade and expansion
  • $1m Peter Faust Dam Tourism Infrastructure Development
  • $1m Flagstaff Hill Interpretive Center
  • $900,000+ Reef Ecologic – Underwater sculptures (a Great Barrier Reef first)
  • $Multi- Million Elysian Retreat
  • $Multi- Million Freedom Shores / Northerlies
  • $Multi- Million Coral Sea Marina Resort.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Tourism

Flavour of the Week: Small Group Touring Co.’s new recruit, Linkd Tourism secures Port of Seattle + MORE!

Flavour of the Week induces two things on a Friday: nostalgia over Craig David and a succession of travel professionals falling asleep at their desks.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Airbnb’s giant ‘Wienermobile’ is sure to satisfy your hot-dog-loving clients

by Christian Fleetwood

In what is a quintessential Friday story, Travel Weekly has delivered this ‘franktastic’ and ‘blunderful’ news for all your hot-dog-loving clients.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Indonesian airline bans inflight filming, reportedly threatens to sue influencer

A travel blogger may be facing defamation charges after making fun of a handwritten menu he was presented on a flight.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

WATCH: Airline passenger scrolls through movies with bare feet!

Due to his aversion to feet, toes and everything below the ankles, Travel Weekly’s editor passed this gross story down to our junior reporter to write.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

How will Instagram’s ‘likes’ trial affect travel marketers?

by Christian Fleetwood

Instagram has hidden the number of likes from posts in a bid to return to a content focus, but what does that mean for businesses using them as a tool to measure engagement? Read on to find out.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Agent wrap: Agents experience safari camp, Viking golden ticket winners + MORE

What better way to bring in the weekend than to trawl through all the latest agent offers and famil pictures? All that’s missing is a sneaky glass of wine.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Intrepid takes next step at Uluru for reconciliation

by Ali Coulton

Hot off the heels of news that tourists are flocking to the rock before a climbing ban comes into action, Intrepid has reiterated its stance on serving alcohol at the sacred site.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

STUDY: More Aussies want to travel overseas, but where do they want to go?

Want to wow your friends and colleagues by being able to rattle off the latest tourism statistics? This article should do the trick.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Hotel wrap: Raffles Singapore reopens arcade, Waldorf rebrand, new Aussie hotels + MORE

We apologise in advance for the record-breaking length of this week’s hotel wrap. Travel Weekly’s reporter would’ve made it even longer had we not locked him in the office storeroom.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

“You cannot ignore the magnitude of influence”: Agency boss’ Instagram warning

Don’t consider Instagram as a powerful force in the travel industry. Well, a prominent agency boss has warned you to think again.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Airbnb host’s list of nightmare bathroom requests goes viral

Among the very specific and highly unrealistic requests was that “gentlemen” must remain seated for “both for number one and number two” and all signs of “passage” must be removed. Yikes.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

STUDY: 50 per cent of Aussies say ‘me time’ drives travel choices

Half of those surveyed in this study have confessed to travelling to be alone. We usually just take a long walk or read a book for some ‘me time’, but spending thousands of dollars on a holiday also works.

Share

CommentComments