$40 million tourism package for ailing reef businesses
GREAT Barrier Reef tourism operators are turning to the State Government to help them remain afloat after being hammered by the pandemic.
A $40 million tourism support package has been announced in the Queensland Budget to help troubled businesses along the reef.
With international tourism gone and borders only just reopening, a mix of grants and infrastructure funding has been rolled out in the hope of luring tourists back to the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday region.
Funding has been unlocked for the Pioneer Valley mountain bike trail and Bluewater Trail as well as sporting arenas and hiking trails.
The highly anticipated Harrup Park Great Barrier Reef Arena has been given all $10 million in state funding this financial year.
The Ngaro walking track will receive $3.1 million this financial year as part of a $8.8 million project to improve visitor access and infrastructure in the Whitsunday Islands National Park.
The first steps for turning the Whitsunday Skyway projectinto a reality were mentioned in the budget documents, however no money has been specifically allocated.
The proposal to build a cableway, summit cafe and indigenous cultural interpretative centre was a Labor Party election commitment.
Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday businesses will also be able to access a one-off $15 million regional tourism cash splash and a $1 million tourism futures study this year.
The total tourism grants package includes $5 million to support regional tourism operators reliant on international tourism to redesign their businesses and $15 million in aviation industry support.
An additional $1 million in tourism recovery funding will be available this financial year.
Businesses looking to attract tourists can access $4.58 million this financial year, as part of an $18.8 million package.
Tourism operators will be able to tap into $10 million in Reef Assist Program funding and a Great Barrier Reef Island Arks eco-tourism project, which will provide $6 million over the next four years.
But eco-tourism operators may have to wait to access a $4.48 million world heritage fund package.
Only $200,000 will be available this financial year, with the majority of funding to be unlocked in 2021-22.
A Great Barrier Reef island rejuvenation package will continue, with an additional $2.7 million in spending allocated for this financial year.
MACKAY, ISAAC AND WHITSUNDAY RECREATION AND CULTURE FUNDING
Bluewater Trail and Queens Park revitalisation: $4.7 million in 2020-21 out of a $8.9 million total spend to undertake significant structural and environmental enhancements to the trail and park following damage from Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie.
Flagstaff Hill Conference and Cultural Centre: $1 million in 2020-21 out of a $2.5 million total spend to build a conference and cultural centre at Flagstaff Hill that will complement the site's visually stunning natural environment.
Marine Park major vessel replacement: $2.4 million in 2020-21 out of a $4.3 million total spend to replace Tamoya vessel.
Pioneer Valley mountain bike trail: $500,000 in 2020-21 towards the design and assessment of the Pioneer Valley mountain bike trail.
Proserpine Entertainment Centre: $6.3 million in 2020-21 out of a $13.7 million total spend for the Proserpine Entertainment Centre to assist with recovery from Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie.
Whitsunday Islands National Park Ngaro walking track upgrade: $3.1 million in 2020-21 out of a $8.8 million total spend to improve visitor access and infrastructure in Whitsunday Islands National Park, including the Ngaro walking track.
Whitsunday Skyway project: Assessing a proposal to develop a cableway, summit cafe and indigenous cultural interpretative centre to support tourism and jobs in the Whitsunday region.
Whitsunday SportsPark: $1.7 million in 2020-21 out of a $2.1 million total spend for Whitsunday SportsPark Inc. to construct a second storey for the clubhouse at Airlie Beach.