Tourism lifeline: Port Douglas attraction amongst those set to cash in

COVID-19 CASH BOOST

Karlie Brady

Journalist

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Wildlife Habitat’s resident Saltwater Crocodile. The Habitat will is set to receive funding to go towards a new CrocArena. Image: Supplied.
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The Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas will receive a cash boost to go towards a new croc attraction as part of the State Government’s multi-million-dollar lifeline announced today for the Far North’s tourism sector.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who is in Cairns this week for community Cabinet meetings, said an $11.3 million package for the Far North tourism industry was part of the government’s economic recovery strategy to assist businesses to make it through COVID-19.

The package will include; $6.5 million for four shovel-ready projects across the Far North, $3 million to help attract major events to the regions, and $1.8 million to assist Reef Fleet operators.

“Tourism will be vital to rebuilding our economy in the months and years ahead,” the Premier said.

The Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas is one of the projects which will share in the funding, receiving $500,000 to go towards a new CrocArena.

This will include enclosures for three male crocodiles, a presentation platform, stadium seating and the ability for guests to "Snorkel with the Salties”.

Operations and Projects Director at The CaPTA Group, Michael Woodward, said “this is fantastic news for both Wildlife Habitat and the Port Douglas community.”

“CrocArena will be a major drawcard, as “Snorkel with the Salties” will provide both an exciting visitor experience and an instagrammable moment that will generate extensive worldwide awareness for the region,” he said.

The other projects offered support are:

  • $2 million towards an additional 40 van sites, amenities block and other supporting infrastructure for Paronella Park at Mena Creek.
  • $3 million towards the construction of Dreamtime Island for Reef Magic Cruises in Cairns. This will be a large floating activity platform on the northern Great Barrier Reef showcasing the reef, indigenous culture and sustainable scientific reef research.
  • $1 million towards the construction of up to 21 air-conditioned, en-suite accommodation units to support the Undara Experience including the famous Lava Tubes at Mount Surprise.

Tourism Minister Kate Jones said this support will be vital in these challenging COVID-19 times.

“The government is partnering with these project proponents to deliver new tourism infrastructure and experiences that will boost the region’s economy,” she said.

“These projects are estimated to support 127 construction jobs and collectively generate 56 on-going roles.”

“The pandemic has hit the state’s tourism industry hard, but the government is carefully lifting restrictions to allow for intrastate travel for Queenslanders and opening up to other travellers when possible,” she said.

The package includes $3 million to secure major events for Far North Queensland and is in addition to $3.8 million announced by the State Government in February.

“Major events drive domestic tourism, pumping cash into local businesses and supporting local jobs - this funding will help us secure events that will stimulate the Cairns and Far North economy,” the Premier said.

“Thousands of businesses particularly in our regions have relied heavily on international tourists.

“Today’s funding will deliver events that help to keep businesses afloat along with grants to support businesses to focus more heavily on domestic markets,” she said.



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