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Public Ferries Back in Business to Great Keppel Island

May 20, 2020 Visit STH Pacific & Oceania No Comments Email Email

Following months of suspended public services, two key ferry operators to Great Keppel Island on the Southern Great Barrier Reef are preparing their plans to return to the high seas from this Friday (22nd May), following their stamp of approval from State Government to resume leisure operations.

With restrictions easing last week, allowing members of the community to travel recreationally within 150 kilometres, Capricorn Enterprise over the weekend again sought clarification from the State Government via the Department of Tourism and the office of Minister Kate Jones, arguing that locals within a 50km radius should have been able to travel to Great Keppel Island.

Capricorn Enterprise CEO, Mary Carroll said “After lobbying this issue on behalf of our operators for many weeks now, today’s good news, which allows our two ferry companies to offer shuttle services to and from Great Keppel Island, whilst implementing the COVID safe guidelines, is extremely appreciated.”

While crews from both Keppel Konnections and Freedom Fast Cats are excitedly preparing their COVID-safe checklists, ready to begin transporting day-trippers to our island paradise, they will be strictly adhering to social distancing guidelines and ensuring the safety of all individuals on their shuttle service.

Great Keppel Island Hideaway and Keppel Konnections Group Manager, Kelly Harris said “From this Friday (22nd May) Keppel Konnections will start by operating a daily 9am ferry to Great Keppel Island, returning at 4pm. We can’t wait to reopen Great Keppel Island Hideaway for takeaway food and beverage, and limited number of eat-in diners.”

“It’s a small, but positive step in the right direction, and we are looking forward to transporting day visitors to experience GKI again and resuming some level or ‘normality’.”

After months spent on boat maintenance and ensuring their vessels are ship-shape, Max Allen Snr from Freedom Fast Cats cannot wait to get back to what he does best.

“While this movement is barely viable and certainly won’t be a money-making exercise, the opportunity to restart our operations with limited shuttle services will get us back on the right track and see at least some cash flow supporting our business.”

The tourism industry is now committed to focussing on the future following several hard hits over the past months.

“The entire industry is looking forward to drawing a line in the sand and welcoming local visitors within their 150km to experience our destination and islands again,” said Mary.

“While ferry operators are still restricted from offering tourism experiences such as snorkelling and cruises, the opportunity to start getting business back on deck, staff back to work and locals moving about in their own backyard is a step forward.”

Bookings in advance for both Freedom Fast Cats and Keppel Konnections ferry services are essential.

#visitcapricorn #southerngreatbarrierreef

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