What's the state of the Whitsunday bareboat industry? - Interview with Trevor Rees

Wed 27 May 2020

Podcast Audio

Trevor Rees from Whitsunday Escape is representing the Whitsunday Bareboat Industry and talks to John Nayler from Deja.vu Magazine, about the current state of the Whitsunday Bareboat industry.

A "Bareboat" is defined by its name, a boat that has no skipper and crew. Customers generally hire the boat for a week or so and cruise out to the islands for a Whitsunday family or group holiday. Soaking up the isolation, sun and the stunning beaches that stretch for kilometres.

Trevor explains that all the Bareboat fleets in Airlie Beach have been grounded by the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions but are ready and waiting for customers. The Industry is feeling the frustration and has no idea when they will be able to commence business again. The Bareboat Industry is quite distinct from the rest of the local Charter Boats and Backpacker sailing trade. These boats are generally pre-booked by Australian families well in advance, for what they consider to be the ideal iconic holiday.

Trevor points out that as it stands now, they have sixty-four (64) bookings of approximately one (1) week each that have been paid in advance and will need to be refunded if the travel restrictions are not lifted within Queensland soon. The value of these bookings are between $5,000 - $12,000. So, they have had no customers for months and now the ripple effect begins of having to cancel existing bookings, which will certainly cripple the Whitsunday Bareboat Industry. As of June 13, they will be able to commence business again however, only with customers within a radius of 250 kilometres. They currently have one (1) booking that falls into this category.

The classic family tradition of heading to Airlie Beach for a Bareboat holiday is to travel by car and enjoy the scenery along the way. No planes, no trains, no buses, simply put, a family or small group in isolation along the way. Picking up groceries and supplies upon arrival and heading out to the open waters. The perfect isolated holiday, clean and green, particularly in this situation.

The Whitsunday Islands offer perfect isolation

Trevor states, "It is just so frustrating, we would love for the Queensland Government to give us some concession and bring forward the date for intrastate travel to at least before the school holidays commence in late June". "This would allow us to operate within this period". "If they don't, all the businesses here in Airlie Beach will continue to suffer financially, due to the 250 kilometre restrictions". " We have been through the phases of grief, anger, frustration and complete desperation watching places like Bryon Bay and other tourist destinations in northern NSW begin trading again".

As Trevor points out, he appreciates there has been many pressures that the Queensland Government has had to endure. He pleads with Anaastasia Palaszczuk to reconsider and take a hard look at what is happening to the Tourist Industry in the Whitsundays and allow intrastate travel before the school holidays commence in late June.

John Nayler strongly resonates with this and points out that Queenslanders have done an incredible job of flattening the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic, by staying at home, social distancing, downloading the app and being responsible in order to get through these difficult times as quickly and as safely as possible.

Queenslanders are now moving towards the post-pandemic stage. Businesses have suffered enough, particularly our Tourism Industry which injects millions of dollars into our economy every year. It is time for the Queensland Government to take decisive action in supporting these businesses to get back on their feet now!Whitsunday bareboat industry facing $1M refunds

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