Bid for Virgin welcomed by Coast tourism boss

THE Queensland Government's decision to make a bid for Virgin Australia has been applauded by Fraser Coast tourism boss Martin Simons.

The general manager of Fraser Coast Tourism & Events said competitive airlines were vital to the region and to the tourism industry.

The State Government's bid for Virgin could be a direct equity stake, a loan, a guarantee or other financial incentives.

Virgin called in administrators late last month after the Federal Government knocked back a plea for a $1.4 billion loan.

Mr Simons said the drive market would continue to be the main focus for FCTE as travel restrictions were eased.

He said the drive market accounted for about 80 per cent of the region's tourists.

Tourism experts believe that targeting the six million Australians who travel overseas - spending a whopping $50 billion - can turn around the ailing Queensland sector.

The aim will be to attract some of those tourists to the Fraser Coast.

The news comes as it was revealed whale watch operators would be able to take up to 20 people on their tours as they look to get back in the water in less than a month, essentially saving their season.

Operators have already started taking bookings.

Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour said he was heartened to hear the State Government was looking to intervene to keep Virgin planes flying.

He reiterated the council's statement last month, calling for any intervention from the State Government to include a guarantee regarding flights between Hervey Bay and Sydney.

"We have asked the Queensland and Australian governments to consider the significant impact the loss of Sydney flights to Hervey Bay by Virgin would have on our recovery and the development of our tourism and hospitality sector," Cr Seymour.

"We also asked that rescheduling of flights to the Fraser Coast, when safe to do so, be included as a condition of any support package."

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