Residents, tourism authorities and government officials are hoping Prince William’s tour of flood and cyclone ravaged parts of Queensland and Victoria this week will boost morale and lure tourists back to the region.
Particularly if he straps on rugby boots or rides a bull as some locals are suggesting.
While the reason for the official royal visit is a sombre affair, particularly in Christchurch today where the Prince visited the devastated city and joined a memorial service, the support from abroad has been welcomed.
Particularly as authorities are desperately trying to reel in business and tourism support back to Queensland (including the Million Dollar Memo business competition).
Prince William’s three-day visit to Australia will include a stopover at Cardwell and Tully to meet the community and volunteers who helped in the aftermath of Cyclone Yasi.
He will also travel to Cairns and then head to Ipswich and Grantham where some of the worst flooding was experienced, including what has been described as an inland tsunami that claimed the lives of 21 people in Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley.
The Prince will then attend a fundraising reception in Brisbane where there will be much bowing and courtsey’ing all round (click here for the Brisbane Times’ guide on how to dress and act for a prince).
His final leg of the journey is in Victoria to see areas still under water near Kerang and to attend a barbecue in Murrabit. This is a region that remains fairly unknown to many Australians (except my mother who lived there during her teen years), let alone the rest of the world, and is still under water two to three months later. No doubt it will help put them on the map.
While the itinerary seems fairly clear cut, some locals had a few more ideas about what the Prince should do while visiting Queensland.
In Condamine they want the Prince to strap on some boots and join a charity rugby match. The town was evacuated twice during the floods and is holding a rugby carnival this weekend to get people together, lift the spirits of residents and thank volunteers.
Mary Carroll from Capricorn Tourism and Economic Development said they would try to get Prince William on a bull ride at the Great Western.
Good luck with both of those ideas. I don’t think anyone wants a broken or bruised Prince on our hands. We’re just glad he’s here at all.