Thursday, January 10, 2013

Plan to lure locals to Keswick Island

 Island Air managing director Glenn Leigh-Smith shows off his beautiful plane.

A $350,000 seaplane, new scuba diving tours and a yet-to-be approved temporary jetty are just some of the tools Keswick Island stakeholders plan on using to attract Mackay residents to their patch of paradise. 

 Traditionally an island escape heavily marketed to overseas visitors and tourists from southern states, Keswick has been largely overlooked by those who live closest to it.

But Keswick Island owner Edward Dawson-Damer said recent closures of resorts on Brampton and Lindeman islands meant the time was right to market Keswick to Mackay.

"Keswick is perfectly placed to be an island escape for Mackay locals - being only 32km off the Mackay coast," Mr Dawson-Damer said.

"In 2013, (we are) working to make the island more accessible and enjoyable as an off-shore destination for Mackay locals.

"To drive this forward, a number of businesses associated with Keswick Island have joined forces and have partnered with Mackay Tourism."

Keswick Island business owners will hold their first meeting with Mackay Tourism officials on January 23.

Plans for a marina on the island are yet to be determined.

For the past year and a half, the managing director of Island Air, Glenn Leigh-Smith, has operated a seven-seater Airvan to and from Keswick Island.

From April 1, the Queensland Department of National Parks has granted his company a permit to also fly a $350,000 seaplane between Mackay, Keswick Island and Bushy Island - 70km off the coast.

"The whole airplane lands on the water," he said. "It's a very unique experience.''

At the moment, the seaplane is only permitted to visit Bushy Island twice a week; something Mr Leigh-Smith said was financially unviable.

But he said he was hopeful an agreement would be reached with the department to increase the frequency of the visits.

"We're hoping to work with National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority this year to improve that and... to show them we're not destroying what we came to enjoy," he said.

Accommodation on the island currently consists of a bed and breakfast as well as a collection of houses, which are able to be rented out. Keswick Island is 80% national park.

Story and reaction/comments:

No comments:

Post a Comment