Luxury resort’s A$120m upgrade revitalises storm-damaged Whitsundays tourism

14 May 2019

The Daydream Island resort in the Whitsunday Islands has reopened after a A$120 million rebuild by owners, China Capital Investment Group. The island and its iconic ‘living reef’ resort were badly damaged in March 2017 by Cyclone Debbie.

Re-opening after a two-year makeover, the resort will help rejuvenate luxury tourism in the Whitsunday Islands group. The resort will offer 277 modern rooms and suites with three restaurants and three bars, and support approximately 250 jobs in the region.

Daydream Island will retain an eco-friendly focus. An expanded, 200 metre-long, free-form coral lagoon brings stingrays and sharks into the heart of the resort. A new Exploration Centre will help educate guests about the Barrier Reef habitat and promote conservation.

With Daydream re-opening its doors, tourism into the Whitsundays may return to pre-cyclone levels by year end. The Intercontinental-managed Hayman Island resort – also in the Whitsundays – is set for a July 1 re-opening following a A$100 million rebuild.  

According to the Queensland Government, recent resort upgrades are boosting tourism to the entire Barrier Reef region, which contributes A$3.9 billion to the state economy and supports more than 33,000 jobs.

‘There is close to A$1 billion in private investment currently planned or underway in our Whitsunday Islands resorts,’ says Queensland Tourism Industry Minister, Kate Jones.

Tourism is already picking up after the blow that Cyclone Debbie delivered to visitor numbers. According to the Australian Financial Review, international hotel booking rates on Queensland's Whitsundays Islands surged 10 per cent in 2018.