Tropical Cyclone Yasi Update
28 July 2011
DUNK & BEDARRA ISLAND RESORTS UPDATE
Hideaway Resorts, operator of Dunk and Bedarra Island resorts today announced the resorts would not be reopened on 1 April 2012 as originally planned.
Mark Campbell, CEO of Hideaway Resorts said the extent of the damage from Cyclone Yasi in February and subsequent inclement weather has made it unfeasible for the current owners on their own to attempt a complete refurbishment of the resorts.
“Dunk and Bedarra Island resorts have been part of the fabric of Australian and Queensland tourism for many years and this decision has not been taken lightly,” Mr Campbell said.
“We understand it will have significant impacts for our staff and patrons, and more broadly for the tourism industry of Mission Beach and tropical North Queensland.
“Since Cyclone Yasi struck on 3 February, Hideaway Resorts has worked with the resort owners to fully assess the extent of damage and examine all options for rebuilding the resorts.
“We engaged specialist contractors, including arborists and landscapers, to carry out removal of debris and put in place extensive vegetation protection measures on both islands. That work is largely completed with positive signs that much of the threatened vegetation will survive.
“We also worked with leading Queensland architect Gary Hunt to develop new design concepts to re-invigorate the resort offerings on Dunk and Bedarra Islands.
“We have now exhausted all potential avenues of government support for the rebuilding at federal, State and local level, including meeting with relevant Ministers and officials.
“Unfortunately, after reviewing all relevant factors the current owners of the resorts have determined they are not in a position on their own to commence a full-scale redevelopment at Dunk or Bedarra Islands.”
Mr Campbell said a consultation process about the implications of today’s announcement for staff of both resorts had commenced.
“Thankfully we understand a majority of staff have found new employment since the resorts were rendered inoperable earlier this year.”
Hideaway Resorts is in the process of appointing a suitable hospitality real estate advisor to assist them to secure expressions of interest in participating in the redevelopment or the sale of the resorts. Further details of this process will be announced shortly.
Dunk Island was named Australasia's Leading Family Resort in the 2010 World Travel Awards. Bedarra featured on Luxury Travel Magazine’s Gold List of Best Australian Resorts in 2010. Both resorts were nominated for 2011 World Travel Awards.
As two rare examples of prime freehold tropical rainforest island land set in the Great Barrier Reef, Dunk and Bedarra are iconic destinations that are uniquely placed in the Queensland resort and Great Barrier Reef tourism market.
Both islands have extensive planning approvals in place for significant further development.
The owners and Hideaway Resorts’ management have vowed to continue to work co-operatively with government at all levels.
“We understand the floods and Cyclone Yasi caused devastation for residents, farms and businesses right throughout Queensland, not just those involved in the tourism industry,” Mr Campbell said.
“We stand ready to provide the benefit of our experience to assist wherever we can to see the resorts re-opened as soon as possible.”
Media inquiries: Todd Hayward, Cato Counsel, 0412 205 151
We are progressing steadily with the clean-up and rectification of both Dunk and Bedarra Islands post Tropical Cyclone Yasi, and will continue to update this website.
Dunk and Bedarra Islands were not the only locations affected, in fact the whole Mission Beach and the Family Group of Islands were in the direct path of the cyclone. Cyclone Yasi severely damaged the marine infrastructure at Mission Beach (Clump Point) as well as Dunk and Bedarra Islands. These communities rely heavily on this marine infrastructure as a key part of the overall tourism experience. For both the Australian domestic and international tourist, easy access to the Great Barrier Reef as well as Dunk and Bedarra Islands are critical and the region needs world-class marine infrastructure. A key part of this is a Safe Boat Harbor for Mission Beach which would ensure the future-proofing of the tourism experience at this wonderful area.
In regards to Dunk and Bedarra Islands the majority of our guests access the resorts by water transfer from Mission Beach. As such, we also have a vital interest in the Mission Beach marine infrastructure and the current marine infrastructure is inconsistent with the quality required to service and support resorts such as ours. The proposed investment in appropriate Mission Beach marine infrastructure will make a substantial difference to the Mission Beach tourism industry and improve the overall guest experience as well as the safety of both guests and staff taking water transfers to the islands.
For this to occur it requires the support of the local and State Government. In that regard the Mission Beach community has developed a website for people to show their support in the development of this Safe Boat Harbour. We believe this development will assist in the development of an ongoing sustainable tourism based economy in Mission Beach.
Please show your support my taking a minute to sign the charter on www.missionbeachsafeboatharbour.com.au. This will allow the community of Mission Beach to demonstrate to Government that there is broad based support coming from all over the country; holiday makers, holiday home owners, investors, family and friends of those in Mission Beach who see the appropriateness of this charter.
Thank you in advance.
CEO, Hideaway Resorts.
Tuesday, 5 April 2011
The purpose of this note is to bring you an update on Dunk and Bedarra Island Resorts.
Both properties are temporarily closed in order to repair damage that was caused by Tropical Cyclone Yasi, which passed over the islands on 2 and 3 February 2011.
The cyclone unfortunately caused significant damage to both properties. Since the closure we have been conducting extensive specialist assessments. These assessments are still in progress and they are identifying the full extent of the rectification works required.
Notwithstanding this lengthy assessment process, we have commenced the clean-up of both resorts and work is progressing quickly in this area. This work is being performed by a large group of specialist contractors (including arborists and landscapers) with assistance from our own staff. Our underlying objective is to retain as much of the natural tropical rainforest vegetation as possible – our most precious asset.
For both properties the rectification works will encompass all areas including guest facilities, essential infrastructure, landscaping, vegetation, ground works and staff facilities – setting new benchmarks in tropical island resort life.
At the same time, we will be reviewing each resorts overall guest experience. This starts with each resort’s “essence” or DNA – what is each resort about?
The guest experience starts from the time guests arrive in the region and transfer to the island, and continues until the time they step off that transfer on the way to their next destination. This review will involve extensive consultation with our trade partners and our past guests. Between now and when we reopen, we will be making some exciting announcements about each resorts guest experience.
The multi-million dollar rectification program will include architectural fixtures and finishes and updated furniture and fittings, ensuring that the facilities reflect each resort’s underlying “essence”. The resorts will each offer a stylish tropical coastal feel, designed to enhance their rainforest and beach setting.
At this point both properties will re-open on 1 April 2012, and will be accepting reservations for this period and beyond in the New Year. We thank everyone for their patience and kind understanding during this period of closure and look forward to welcoming guests back to Bedarra and Dunk Island when we re-open.
Stay up to date with progress as Dunk and Bedarra rebuild after Cyclone Yasi, by joining our communities on www.facebook.com/dunkisland and www.facebook.com/bedarraislandresort or follow us on www.twitter.com/dunkisland and www.twitter.com/bedarraresort.
Thursday, 10 February 2011
The industry has provided a terrific response to our call to assist in redeploying staff, with many positions having already been notified and more coming in, and we are pleased to report that a number of placements have already been made.
We are pleased to provide the following island updates:
These important steps will make it considerably easier for the clean-up crew operating on the islands.
For further information please contact Mark Campbell, Hideaway Resorts CEO, on 0411 123 008.
Tuesday, 8 February, 2011
Thank you to all of our past guests and staff for the overwhelming number of well-wishes as we face the aftermath of Cyclone Yasi. The majority of our staff have been relocated to the Hotel Cairns in Cairns where we are providing them with meals and accommodation until Friday, 11 February. We have been conducting daily briefings with our team members and have provided counseling services in both group and one-on-one sessions.
Dunk and Bedarra islands were severely damaged by the cyclone and will not be able to open for guests for a number of months.
This unfortunately means we will have to stand down many of our team members until the resorts are re-built. Hideaway Resorts has facilitated offers of alternative employment in the tourism and hospitality industry and will continue to work with other operators to place staff members who are seeking employment. We have also offered some team members employment as part of the clean-up and repair project.
At the completion of the rebuild of the resorts, we will contact all of the team members who remain stood down and offer them positions in our team. We look forward to seeing many of their friendly faces back on the islands soon.
In regard to the timeframe for this, that is a question we cannot answer with any degree of certainty. We have cancelled all bookings for stays until 31 August 2011 and will not be accepting any new bookings for stays until after that date. It is just too early for us to estimate how long the rebuilding process will take – but we will do our best to keep you updated via this website.
We have also had some queries regarding the farm animals on the island and are delighted to advise that (other than two chickens) the horses, pigs, donkeys, cows, goats, chickens and ducks are safe. The vet checked them today and they have been given a clean bill of health.
For further information please contact Mark Campbell, Hideaway Resorts CEO, on +61 3 9854 5740. Stay up to date with island happenings - join our community on www.facebook.com/dunkisland or follow us on www.twitter.com/dunkisland
Friday, 4 February, 2011
All Bedarra and Dunk staff, other than a skeleton crew have now been transferred to Mission Beach, for on transfer to Cairns, now that the roads are open (or already to Cairns by helicopter).
Communications with the islands remain a major issue, with power and landlines out, and intermittent mobile communication only, making it difficult to provide up to date information.
There has been speculation about the circumstances resulting in staff remaining on the islands prior to TC Yasi hitting the islands.
Preparations were undertaken in line with established cyclone procedures, which do not typically include provision for mass evacuation of staff (the resorts typically re-open 3 – 4 days after a cyclone has passed the islands).
All remaining guests and those staff scheduled to leave the islands on Monday, 31 January or Tuesday, 1 February did so, with the last leaving either by plane at 1pm, or boat transfer to Mission Beach at 3pm on Tuesday, 1 February. At this time, our best information was that TC Yasi was heading north towards Cairns as a possible category 4 (upgraded from a category 3 forecast earlier in the day) and Dunk’s Resort General Manager and Bedarra's Acting General Manager had not at this time been approached by any staff requesting to leave the island.
Early on Wednesday, the cyclone started heading south west and increased to a possible category 5. At this point, those remaining were committed to stay, with no safe option to leave the islands. Staff were located in cyclone rated accommodation and all times remained there safely until the cyclone passed.
As previously advised it is too early to say for how long the resorts will be need to be closed to undertake necessary clean up and repairs, with property assessments hampered by weather conditions and safety considerations, as well as the prioritization of the staff re-location.
Those with bookings made for travel prior to 31 August 2011 are being cancelled (without penalty), with further updates to follow in this regard.
Thursday, 3 February, 2011
As previously advised, all staff who remained on the resorts during this period are safe and accounted for. No guests were at the resorts at the time.
We are currently re-locating all staff from the island to the mainland, other than a skeleton team who will remain to secure the resorts, and arrangements are currently being put in place for transfers off the islands, the provision of accommodation, and where required, for counselling of staff on the mainland.
In addition to attending to staff re-locations, Dunk Island Resort General Manager, David Henry and Bedarra Acting General Manager, Sophia Rutty, who were both with their staff overnight, are currently undertaking a preliminary situation analysis to determine the extent of damage to the properties. It is still too early to determine how long the resorts will need to be closed to allow the necessary clean up and repair works to be undertaken, however, it is clear that the damage is extensive. A further announcement will be made in due course in this regard.
Hideaway Resorts CEO, Mark Campbell and Director, Andrew Menzies have recently arrived on Dunk Island to support David and Sophia.
Hideaway Resorts Chairman, Rupert Greenhough said “We are enormously relieved that all staff have safely come through this extraordinary experience, which is testament to the planning and preparations undertaken for these situations. We are confident that with their combined and significant experience of these properties, Mark and David will lead us through the recovery efforts, and allow the resorts to be up and running again, as soon as possible.”
For further information please contact Rupert Greenhough via Hideaway Resorts Head Office: +61 3 9854 5740.
Tuesday 1 February 2011 (8:00am AEST)
As the safety of guests and staff is critical to Hideaway Resorts, we are asking all guests who are due to arrive on both islands between (1 February) and Sunday (6 February) to amend or cancel their reservations as access to the islands may not be possible.
Guests can contact their travel agent or Hideaway Resorts Reservations on 1 300 384 403 (Dunk) or 1 300 384 417 (Bedarra), for assistance with their travel arrangements.
We are also ensuring all guests currently on Dunk and Bedarra Islands depart from 1 February and we are assisting these guests with their forward travel plans.
No cancellation or amendment fees will apply for changes to reservations for the nights of Tuesday (1 February) to Sunday (6 February) inclusive.
At this time of year, cyclones are a fairly normal occurrence in northern Australia, as such Dunk and Bedarra Islands have established cyclone procedures in place, however the actions outlined above are necessary to ensure the safety of your guests.
For further information: