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Tourism Whitsundays roadshow brings the winter sun to Sydney

Nearly 20 suppliers came to town for the second night in a four-city east-coast tour.

L-R Tourism Whitsundays Marketing Manager, Laura Knipe with Trade Manager Suzy Bohan.

For an idyllic North Queensland destination boasting a year-round average temperature of 23 degrees, a chilly winter night is promotional paydirt.

So it was on a nippy June evening in Sydney that Tourism Whitsundays’ 2023 east-coast roadshow came to town - stop two in a four-city trade tour.

The mood among 17 Whitsundays exhibitors was warm and energetic, with around 100 local travel advisors eager to meet suppliers and learn more about the region.

Among the suppliers on show were hotels Elysian Island Retreat, Coral Sea Marina Resort, Daydream Island, Yangaro Resort, Hamilton Island and many more, along with local tour operators Cruise Whitsundays, Red Cat Adventures, Iconic Whitsunday Adventures, Ocean Dynamics and many more.

Mirage Whitsundays Resort was among the hotels on show.

A key theme and message of the event was that Airlie Beach has long since shaken an old reputation as being a party town for backpackers. The area stands proudly on its own, two and three hours respectively from Mackay and Townsville and the gateway to a pristine part of the Great Barrier Reef.

The area was also very fortunate to have been largely untouched by the pandemic. When the world came to a shuddering halt with the onset of COVID-19 in early 2020, it took 18 months for the first case to arrive in Airlie Beach.

Strong intrastate drive markets kept resorts full of fellow Queenslanders unable to venture interstate or overseas instead, with the biggest impact being felt in staffing numbers as many expatriate workers returned to their home countries.

Now with all borders open and staffing levels slowly normalising, it was time for the destination to hit the road for the first time in three years.

Whitehaven Beach is one of Airlie Beach's most famous attractions.

A multitude of prizes were available to attendees at each event, while agents were also tasked with collecting a stamp from each supplier to go into the draw for a fantastic Whitsundays holiday featuring stays at Yangaro Retreat and Long Island, an overnight ReefSleep experience, plus transfers, activities and additional credit for the winner to spend on their own local adventure.

Tourism Whitsundays Trade Manager, Suzy Bohan, told Traveltalk she was eager to make a point that agents should spend a little bit of time with each exhibitor.

“Everyone has been really considerate and not just passing looking for a stamp. We’re not going to stamp it until they’ve spent the time and everybody says this process is working.”

Bohan added the roadshow has been extremely well subscribed with a great mix of frontline agents from various disciplines including retail, domestic wholesalers and international wholesalers.

All up, more than 350 advisors have registered to attend across the four events, which began in Melbourne on Monday before last night’s visit to Sydney.

The roadshow continues its northbound journey tonight with Newcastle next on the hit list before concluding with a final stop back on home territory in Brisbane.

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Written by: Matt Lennon

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