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Chinese New Year celebrations boost Whitsundays tourism as February figures ‘triple’

By Mark Beale

The Whitsundays in north Queensland has recorded one of its busiest February’s on record, with an influx of visitors to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Whitsunday Coast Chamber of Commerce president Kevin Collins said Airlie Beach was almost booked out and the two-week festival was on par with Christmas.

He said he was expecting to serve up to 600 people a day in his restaurant and one aviation operator was flying about 300 people per day to the reef.

“This was traditionally the worst month of the year,” he said.

“Restaurants used to close and go on holidays.

“Our whole February, as an example, is triple what it was three years ago.

“I’d say across the board, Airlie Beach’s tourism economy for the month of February has grown by 300 per cent in three years.

“We purchased 18,000 dumplings just to service one part of our business, which is catering to the boats that take people to the Great Barrier Reef.

“I was talking to one of the aviation operators who was taking 300 people a day to the Great Barrier Reef on planes.

“It really is exciting times.”

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