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Movie puts Whitsunday region on pirate alert

By Mark Beale

An economic boost, in the form of a pirate ship, could be set to sail into the Mackay and Whitsunday region with confirmation the fifth movie in Walt Disney Studios’ Pirates of the Caribbean series will be shot in Queensland.

Whitsundays Marketing and Development executive manager Jeff Aquilina said he couldn’t confirm whether waters off Airlie Beach would feature in the movie.

However, he did let slip tourism reps had been secretly working with the blockbuster franchise’s location scouts.

“We have been working with the movie’s scouts. There were some confidentially arrangements in place,” he said.

Filming of the movie is set to give Queensland a $100 million boost.

Federal Minister for the Arts, Senator George Brandis said the $21.6 million investment to secure the film was worth it.

“The fifth film in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise will be the largest international feature film ever to shoot in Australia and will focus the world’s attention on Australia as a leading film destination,” he said.

“Our investment in attracting the film to Australia will result in substantial benefits for the screen industry and economy.”

Mackay Tourism general manager Stephen Schwer said, if filmed in the Mackay region or the Whitsunday, the benefits would be two-fold.

“When a film is shot in a destination the initial impact is from the film crew and their entourage, which is always a good boost,” he said.

“And then with the film’s promotion of the movie comes the benefits when people see the scenery on the big screen, find out where it is, and want to go there as well.”

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