Humpback Highway opens to traffic

Minister for Tourism, Innovation and Sport and Minister Assisting the Premier on Olympics and Paralympics Sport and Engagement The Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe

The whale watching season in Hervey Bay is open until October

The first of more than 40,000 humpback whales are arriving in Queensland’s Hervey Bay on an annual 5,000-kilometre Humpback Highway road trip.

Hervey Bay’s official whale watching season was opened today by Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe.

“We’re giving the Humpback Highway a priority green light for the 2022 whale watching season,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“Queensland’s world-famous humpbacks are returning to Hervey Bay to entertain tens-of-thousands of whale watching visitors.

“Frolicking humpbacks are an awe-inspiring part of the great Queensland lifestyle our visitors love.

“With humpback numbers growing by 10 per cent, local whale tourism operators say this season is shaping up as one of the biggest.

“It’s terrific to hear some operators are taking bookings from overseas in a sign of growing international traveler confidence.

“The Palaszczuk Government is already stoking pent-up overseas demand for Queensland holidays with tourism marketing on four continents world-wide.

“More domestic and international visitors are seeking out unique ecotourism experiences and whale watching is on just about every bucket list.”

Member for Hervey Bay Adrian Tantari said almost a third of all visitors to Hervey Bay went humpback whale watching.

“Every year, 25,000 Hervey Bay visitors have a whale-of-a-time on a whale watching adventure,” Mr Tantari said.

“Whale watching supports local jobs, accommodation and transport providers, cafes, restaurants, hotels and other world-class tourism experiences.

“Hervey Bay really is humpback whale central.

“We’re one of the best places in the world to see humpbacks perform and one of the planet’s first Whale Heritage Sites.”

Fraser Coast Tourism and Events CEO Officer Martin Simons said Australia’s first commercial whale watching boat tours started in 1987 at Hervey Bay.

“This region was instrumental in setting up a sustainable code for whale-human interactions, since copied around the world,” Mr Simons said

“Whale watching experiences in Hervey Bay are different from all others because whales come into the warm, shallow waters of the Bay to rest on their journey from the Antarctic to the northern tropics.

“It’s the largest mammal migration in the world.

“Here the whales are relaxed, and the mothers take time to train their calves, sometimes pushing them right up to boats.

“The whales are as interested in the boats as visitors are in them.”

Mr Hinchliffe said one of the Tourism Industry Reference Panel’s recommendations was accelerating ecotourism.

“Growing ecotourism is an important element of the Palaszczuk Government’s $66.4 million Budget investment in Queensland tourism,” he said.

“The 2022-23 Budget is all about creating more, good secure jobs and enhancing Queensland’s great lifestyle.”

Prime whale watching season is from July to October.

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