HERVEY BAY'S peak tourist time might not be enough to secure the future of QantasLink flights as the airline admits numbers remain disappointing towards the tail end of whale season.
A QantasLink representative said passenger numbers were "lower than hoped", this despite initial confidence demand for the direct Hervey Bay to Sydney flights would increase in the lead-up to whale season.
"Passenger numbers are still lower than we had hoped for, however we are working with the Fraser Coast Opportunities team on ways to further promote the Fraser Coast as a fantastic tourist destination, which we hope will stimulate demand," the representative said.
This comes after the non-stop weekend flights, which were introduced in March 2014, saw a slow start with reports of dwindling passenger numbers just weeks after the new route was launched by QantasLink in conjunction with the region's peak tourism body, Fraser Coast Opportunities.
However, Fraser Coast Opportunities general manager David Spear retains hope for the future of the flights.
"By all accounts visitor numbers are still strong in the Fraser Coast region," he said.
"While not all of them travel here by air, a certain portion of them do so we continue to maximise volumes through the airport where we can.
"We've had some recent discussions with our partners at Qantas around collaboration in terms of the upcoming summer marketing campaign which is likely to begin around October and November.
"The aviation sector is extremely competitive and we would encourage people to remember it is not all about inbound flights, we also need people in our local region to recognise the importance of using those flights to enjoy all the other regions such as Brisbane and Sydney have to offer."