The Whitsunday Regional economy is driven by three pillar industries - tourism, mining and agriculture.
Tourism is the Whitsunday Region’s largest employer, accounting for approximately 40% of jobs and it is the second-largest contributor to the region’s industry value-added behind mining.
There are opportunities to expand the tourism offer beyond the Whitsunday Islands and Airlie Beach to a broader land-based visitor experience, particularly targeting the domestic drive market. There are also opportunities to build on the region’s rich indigenous and European history and cultural heritage, industrial and agri-tourism, food tourism and nature-based experiences.
Growing existing markets and capturing new opportunities for growth will be achieved through a coordinated approach to marketing, infrastructure provision and destination management.
Mining is the largest contributor to the Whitsunday Region’s economic output, worth $788 million or 18% of the region’s total industry output.
Coal mining accounts for the largest share of industry output, worth $753 million or 96% of the value of mining industry output (REMPLAN, April 2016).
Historically mining has provided the Whitsunday Region with income, employment, investment and infrastructure. An important element of the region’s comparative advantage is its geographic proximity to the key resource areas of the Bowen Basin and the emerging Galilee Basin.
Mining remains the anchor of the Whitsunday Regional Economy and the sector will continue to be a significant employer and economic contributor into the future.
The Bowen and Gumlu area has a well-established horticulture industry that supports 13 major crop varieties including tomatoes, capsicum, beans and corn and produces over 250,000 tonnes per annum.
The Proserpine sugarcane growing has approximately 22,000 hectares of cane-growing land currently under cultivation. The Proserpine mill has a maximum crushing capacity of up to 25,000 hectares of cane, presenting scope for the region’s sugar industry to grow.
The Whitsunday beef cattle industry accounts for 20% of the value of agricultural output and 25% of employment. It is the largest agricultural industry sub-sector in the Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday Region accounting for 39% of the value of all agricultural industry output.