Heron Island is one of Flight Centre's Top 50 WOW Experiences for 2020
Heron Island is one of Flight Centre's Top 50 WOW Experiences for 2020

COUNTING THE COST: Plea for support when islands reopen

HERON Island managers are hopeful locals will "explore their own backyard" once the resort is ready to welcome back guests.

Aldesta Hotels this week announced closures to Heron and Wilson islands until April 30 due to a non-essential travel ban.

It has estimated room revenue losses of $1.25 million for the month of April alone, excluding guest spending on food, drinks and other discretionary items.

A spokeswoman said the company hoped to reopen on May 1 but, if needed, the closure would be extended.

"It is possible that once the restrictions currently in place are lifted people will be more grateful than ever for the lifestyle, culture and environment we are very fortunate to enjoy here in Australia," she said.

"We are hopeful people will be wanting to support local businesses get back on their feet, as well as wanting to explore their own backyard with an increase in domestic travel."

A small team is based at Heron and Wilson islands for maintenance.

"It was a very difficult decision to close both properties, however, the health and safety of guests and employees remains our top priority," the spokeswoman said.

"At this time it is important we all work together and continue to follow the recommendations from the Australian Government to help stop the spread of COVID-19."

The spokeswoman said the tourism industry as a whole had been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It is very concerning and heartbreaking to see every aspect of the travel and tourism industry being affected so significantly," she said.

"Although, it has been wonderful to see how the industry has come together, offering each other support, advice and understanding."

The spokeswoman said within the industry there was a sense of "we are all in this together".

Guests booked to visit from now until the end of April are being contacted.

Those who booked through a travel agent or third-party provider should contact them regarding the arrangements.

"Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to welcoming you to Heron Island as soon as we can," the spokeswoman said.