Tourism Whitsundays is furious over a 60 Minutes story that ran last night highlighting several resorts on and off the Queensland coast that were “closed and in ruins”. The tourism body and local council are also angry much of the “positive” aspects were not acknowledged, including re-openings, investments, and rebuilds following damaging cyclone incidents in the past decade.

Tourism Whitsundays 60 Minutes

Tourism Whitsundays outraged

Tourism Whitsundays has released an official statement after being angered by a 60 Minutes story that ran on Channel 9 last night focusing on several resorts on and off the Queensland coast being closed and in ruins.

“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, it was unethical, unbalanced journalism, nothing short of a ratings grab,” Tourism Whitsundays CEO Tash Wheeler said in an official statement today. “The story showed no regard for the people behind the industry and the thousands that work hard and invest to promote this magical part of the world.”

“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 such as Daydream Island and Hayman Island.”

Ms Wheeler said key facts ignored included:

A multi-million-dollar investment (at the start of this year) made by the owners of new resort Elysian Retreat on Long Island.

Daydream Island Resort opened in April following a $120m+ redevelopment.

Hayman Island by InterContinental re-opened last week after a $135m development.

The continued commitment and investment by Hamilton Island Enterprises which has seen in excess of $500m being invested over the past 10 years.

The clean up on South Molle has begun and that South Molle Island was purchased by CCIG Investments, the same company that owns and redeveloped Daydream Island Resort.

Lindeman Island has proposed huge redevelopment, three new resorts, 325 suites and villas – all with a proposed total development cost of $583m.

Whitsundays ‘looking incredible’

The Tourism Whitsundays CEO also said lacking in last night’s story was the fact seven resorts on islands across the region are open and “looking incredible” in the Whitsundays, which is more than what was open before March 2017.

“Another disappointing factor is that over the past six months, joint marketing activity with Tourism Whitsundays and many other key partners has focused on a number of promotions on key news channels promoting the return of the Whitsunday Islands,” Ms Wheeler said. “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. 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.”


Hayman Island artist impression

Mayor’s big whack

Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox also joined in and didn’t hold back with his thoughts on the story.

“It is unfair on our hard-working tourism industry that a program like 60 Minutes reported such a one-sided story leaving out glaring facts like the reopening of Daydream Island and Hayman island,” he said, before taking a big verbal swipe at the long-running current affairs program.

“It would appear that 60 Minutes may have suffered the same fate as some of our islands,” he said in the statement. “For decades 60 Minutes were at the peak of investigative reporting but sadly their ratings demise over the past decade has left them a decaying shell of their former credibility. 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.”

Mr Willcox said there were now seven resorts on islands open across the Whitsunday region most recently with Elysian Retreat, Daydream and Hayman island all welcoming guests.

Unique part of the world

“We are the custodians for a wonderful and unique part of the world, so I am always keen to shout long and loud that the Whitsunday Region is the best tourist destination in the world.”

Whitsunday Island Resorts open:

  1. Palm Bay Resort
  2. Daydream Island Resort
  3. Intercontinental Hayman Island Resort (pictured)
  4. Hamilton Island
  5. Elysian Retreat
  6. Camp Island Lodge
  7. Whitsunday Apartments Hamilton Island

Chairman Tourism Whitsundays Al Grundy chimed in: “Not to mention the largest fleet of charter and self-hire yachts in the Southern Hemisphere providing over 600k bed nights per year on the water and access to the amazing array of Whitsunday Island. It is also import to note that the Whitsundays takes 40% of all marine tourism into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.”


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