What's the flow-on effect of lack of tourists in the Whitsundays? - Woody, Whitsunday Ocean Services

Sat 30 May 2020

Podcast Audio

John Nayler from Deja.vu Magazine asks Woody from Whitsunday Ocean Services, "What is the flow-on effect from the lack of tourists visiting the Whitsundays?".

Whitsunday Ocean Services is a life raft and life jacket service centre and an inflatable repair and service centre. In essence, they sell and repair Marine equipment and predominantly work with Charter companies, Commercial operators and Workboats.

There are 2 parts to their business:
The first being the Charter Industry and Commercial operators which are the day boats and overnight boats.
The second being the Mining and safety work and Government department works such as QGAir, Queensland Ambulance and the Water Police.

Woody says, "What is keeping Whitsunday Ocean Services afloat at present is the Mining and Workboats." "The work is certainly not as fluid as it normally is, however it is work that is coming in."  "The phone just stopped ringing at the end of March". "Charter companies are not doing much at all in regards to maintenance and commercially the overnight boats are not operating, hence there is no servicing as there is no money to spend." "In Airlie Beach, we support each other and rely on each other for prompt payment, which is usually the case." "With most of the businesses here, there is no money coming in which makes it difficult to pay overheads plus debts continue to accumulate". "Financially, it's a flow-on effect, if businesses cannot pay each other, it impacts us all".

Whitsunday Ocean Services are the support service to the Marine industry and Marine tourism trade from Port Douglas all the way down the east coast to Airlie Beach. With no boats operating, there is no servicing being undertaken as these businesses have no money coming in. It is much like the registration on your car, there is a due date each year where you must service your life rafts for safety reasons. Once the COVID-19 pandemic commenced in March, a number of operators ceased trading as there were no tourists.  They made a decision not to have their rafts serviced until they could begin work again. Once again a flow-on effect to their business comrades. With no boats operating the Trade and Services Industries are hit hard as well. Electricians, diesel fitters and diesel engine operators have little or no work!

Whitsundays tourist dollar life blood is going down the drain

Airlie Beach is a tourist town. It needs tourists to operate and survive. Generally at this time of the year ‘cruising yachties', are sighted everywhere around the Whitsundays and pull into Airlie Beach for supplies and servicing however, with the current travel restrictions there are none about.

The June/July school holidays commence in Queensland on the 27th June, with travel only allowed within a 250 kilometre radius, yet another blow to the businesses here in Airlie Beach. Traditionally, August through to the end of October, southerners are flocking to the Whitsundays for their holidays. If the Queensland borders are not opened soon this will not eventuate! With a dark cloud of uncertainty hanging over all the businesses in this region, no wonder their mental and physical health is being impacted.

Anastasia Palaszczuk please allow for intrastate travel and open the Queensland borders. How much more can the businesses of the Whitsundays endure?  We need tourists in North Queensland ASAP to restore the lifeblood cash-flow which is so essential to business, employees and local economies before depression sets in.

Airlie Beach marine tourism

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