Ticket sales into Whitsundays soar ahead of first flight
THE region will be rolling out the welcome mat at the airport on Monday as flight sales continue to soar, marking what has been tagged as the first major step in the road to recovery.
Next week, the Whitsunday Coast Airport will host the touchdown of the first flight into the Whitsundays since planes were grounded in April.
Since the launch of the new carrier on June 3, Alliance Airlines has sold over 2000 tickets on their Whitsunday-Brisbane route.
Whitsunday Coast Airport chief operating officer of aviation and tourism Craig Turner said Monday's flight would be a big step in boosting the region's economy.
"This is going to kickstart the industry and help to get them out of this COVID situation," he said.
"Whitsunday Regional Council and Whitsunday Coast Airport have put effort, time and resources into making this happen because we absolutely understand the destination cannot start to rebuild until we have connectivity to our markets.
"It's going to allow us a greater opportunity to reach all those people who are freezing in Melbourne to jump on a plane."
Mr Turner said beyond filling accommodation across the region, the visitors would also likely come with "their pockets full" and spend more money that would have otherwise gone to international travel.
"We're going to get a higher yielding customer in the Whitsundays because they budgeted for an overseas holiday," he said.
"They're going to invest more into the destination which is a great result.
"They'll come with their pockets full, if they were going to go overseas and budgeted it, they've still got money in the bank."
The positive visitation figures extended beyond flights bookings to resorts around the Whitsundays.
Mr Turner said the launch of Daydream Island's three-night Good to Go package reached 4800 people and prompted 724 engagements on their social media page in just 20 minutes.
However, Mr Turner said the airport's work in bringing in more tourists was far from over.
"The job's not done. Whilst this is fantastic announcement and Alliance arriving is great, the job is far from done," he said.
"Whitsunday Regional Council and Whitsunday Coast Airport are absolutely committed to driving further results that will benefit our markets and drive recovery sooner."