Chris Ison

COLUMN: Flight path to tourism

AMAZING what issues one tries to solve at a BBQ with a beer and some friends.

What was needed to keep both of the golf courses at Capricorn International operating? More paying golfers obviously. They charged too much for the green fees and the beer. That's what kept the locals away. Without direct flights it was never going to attract the international tourists they were hoping for.

So why not a serious push for an international airport for Rockhampton? The tarmac is long enough, just add an international terminal.

Imagine what a flight full of international tourists every week would do for the resort, as well as the local businesses the resort buys food and maintenance gear from. . Why can't we get an international airport? Cairns and Townsville have them.

That's part of the reason. It's hard to justify a third one in regional Queensland. Our population base isn't big enough.

So we just keep treading water. How do we get bigger? Are we trying to attract this growing middle class of China. You know Shanghai is closer to Rockhampton than Hawaii. Why would they want to come here? Clean air, deserted beaches, the reef, the bush, play golf; certainly different to what they are use to. No casinos though. Cairns and Townsville have got them too. Does everyone from China want to visit a casino?

Could we do international charter flights out of Shanghai? Who would market it? George Street (Brisbane) hardly knows where Rockhampton is, do you believe someone in Canberra (Parliament) does?

Iwasaki; aren't they going to spend hundreds of millions on some beachside development? Is that still going ahead?

So what's the answer?

We should have paid the green fees and the beer prices they were charging.

Or could relevant representatives from Rocky, Livingstone Councils, State and Federal Government departments and Iwasaki family be all invited to a barbecue, given a few beers and start collaborating what is needed to realise the tourism potential Yohachiro Iwasaki saw on Farnborough Beach, then start doing?



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