Year ends on a high note
THE Whitsundays has much to celebrate as 2017 draws near.
Domestic tourism figures released this week show 516,000 domestic tourists visited the Whitsundays up to September 30, 2016, marking a 25.5% increase on last year.
This follows unprecedented international tourism figures of 229,000 visitors this year.
Tourism Whitsunday CEO Craig Turner said the figures painted a positive picture.
"As we head into the busy Christmas and new year period, it is great to know that we are obviously doing a lot right as a region, as we continue to attract increased visitation from both overseas and within Australia," he said.
Tourism operator Al Grundy said the figures were just the start of more good news to come.
"Another important thing is that from March-April next year we will have new flights from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, and those additional services mean more people coming to holiday," he said.
"Therein lies our dilemma. We need to be careful with how to manage our growth."
Dawson MP George Christensen agreed that growth management had to be prioritised.
"This is why it's important we get the fundamentals of the Whitsunday Plan of Management right so we don't have tourists overcrowding certain areas such as Whitehaven," he said.