Debbie prompts $2 million recovery plan

Queensland has embarked on a $2 million emergency marketing campaign to help lift the tourism industry in the wake of Cyclone Debbie, reinforcing the message that the state is open for business.

Regions outside the disaster zone were quick to point out they were unaffected by last month’s category four storm, while the state’s Tourism Minister Kate Jones mounted an immediate appeal for visitors to swamp social media with photographs of Queensland’s sunny skies using the hashtag #thisisqueensland.

But for areas directly hit by the cyclone including parts of the Whitsundays, the impact will be felt for some time.

Daydream Island Resort & Spa suffered substantial damage, prompting owners to bring forward redevelopment plans, and remains closed until the middle of next year.

One&Only Hayman Island also suffered extensive damage and is likely to be closed for more than a year. Its shut-down follows a similar closure in 2011 when the resort was hit hard by Cyclone Yasi.

On Hamilton Island, luxury resort qualia will be closed until early July, and while other parts of the island are open for business there are restrictions on some rooms while repairs take place.

Other properties in the area were quick to resume business. The Mantra Group said both its properties at Airlie Beach fared well and are operating as usual soon after the storm.

The Queensland and Federal Governments will jointly fund the state’s tourism recovery marketing campaign, which features print, television and digital advertising both domestically and in international markets.

“This new campaign builds on our already successful ‘I know just the place’ branding to encourage travellers to consider taking a Queensland holiday,” Jones said.

“The ads use beautiful real-life images taken since Cyclone Debbie passed from around the state, including Whitsundays, Gold Coast, Southern Great Barrier Reef, Townsville and Tropical North Queensland.”