Cashless island: Aussie tourist hotspot ditches cash in controversial move

The decision of Hamilton Island to transition to a cashless system has stirred up backlash among Australians, with many threatening to boycott the popular tourist destination.

Cashless island: Aussie tourist hotspot ditches cash in controversial move
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Hamilton Island, located north of Mackay in North Queensland, has made headlines for its recent shift to a cashless payment system, a move initially implemented for health reasons during the Covid pandemic. Despite the relaxation of restrictions, the island has upheld its cashless policy, citing health benefits, convenience and security as primary reasons.

Explaining the decision on its website, the privately owned island emphasised the promotion of hygienic environments through contactless transactions, hassle-free payments for guests and enhanced security measures associated with cashless transactions.

However, the announcement has faced criticism from many Australians who have expressed intentions to boycott the island. Critics have stated they would no longer visit Hamilton Island, while others vowed not to revisit. The sentiment for a boycott echoed among disgruntled tourists, with some recalling fond memories tarnished by the cashless policy.

Despite the backlash, Hamilton Island claims it has implemented measures to accommodate visitors, offering alternatives such as cash withdrawals and deposits at the island's Australia Post office and facilitating payments through pre-paid or top-up Mastercards.

Hamilton Island, a popular destination known for its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, has seen significant tourist traffic, especially during peak seasons. However, with its transition to a cashless system, the island now finds itself at the centre of controversy, risking its appeal among visitors who prefer traditional payment methods.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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