Visitors to Far North Queensland will soon be able to walk or cycle a stunning new coastal and hinterland route from Palm Cove to Port Douglas, thanks to an $8 million investment from the Coalition Government.
Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said the Wangetti Trail, once complete, would become one of the country’s leading adventure-based ecotourism experiences.
He said funding for the project is part of the government’s $50 million National Tourism Icons package announced in this year’s federal budget.
“The Wangetti Trail will be a one-of-a-kind experience, attracting hikers and cyclists from across Australia and the globe,” Minister Birmingham said.
“Having a dedicated trail will also help protect the natural landscape in the region whilst at the same deliver an iconic tourism product to help drive visitor growth.
“It will help lure thousands of extra visitors into the region’s hotels, shops and restaurants and will also help support the variety of ecotourism and indigenous experiences on offer.
“In a six-day walk or a two-day ride, visitors will be able to take in the extraordinary scenery of the regions rainforests and coastline, learn about the rich local indigenous culture, and sample local hospitality at pubs and restaurants along the trail.
“One in thirteen Australian jobs rely on our tourism industry.
“That is why the Coalition Government is maintaining our record investment in tourism infrastructure and marketing as part of our plan to generate another 1.25 million jobs across Australia.”
Federal Leichhardt Warren Entsch MP said the Wangetti Trail would create around 150 local jobs and be a significant boost to tourism and the local economy.
He said this investment in local tourism was about listening, acting and delivering for the community.
“This incredible new nature-based experience, once up and running, will be a major tourism drawcard to our region,” Mr Entsch said.
“Our $8 million funding boost will go towards building the second stage of the Wangetti Trail from the Mowbray River through to Palm Cove.
“It will include trail construction, upgrades to bridges, campsites and associated infrastructure.
“It will also include $350,000 to advance Indigenous tourism partnerships on the Wangetti Trail.”
Mr Entsch said the trail has the potential to attract an extra 28,000 visitors to the region each year, making a significant contribution to the local visitor economy.
“The Wangetti Trail is expected to generate $18.3 million in additional spending in the local economy of which at least $10.4 million is expected to be from new visitors coming specifically for the trail.
“Furthermore, this investment will complement the $3.4 million investment I announced in March towards the Great Dreaming Track between the Daintree and the Tip of Australia.”
Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu said the welcome investment would help turn the Wangetti Trail dream into a reality.
“This commitment shows the widespread confidence in the Wangetti Trail becoming a world-class and treasured attraction for Douglas Shire,” she said.
“This environmentally-friendly, adventure tourism trail is expected to spark a new wave of tourism growth and economic activity in our region.
“It also gives our local residents another fantastic recreational experience in their own backyard.”
Tourism Tropical North Queensland chair Wendy Morris welcomed the funding commitment to create an iconic World Heritage trail in Tropical North Queensland.
“Ecotourism experiences are very much a part of Tropical North Queensland and we need development in this area to fulfil our vision of being the world’s most inspiring nature-based destination,” Ms Morris said.
“Multi-day walking and mountain biking trails are a huge drawcard for both domestic and international visitors and are particularly attractive to high-value travellers looking for sustainable tourism experiences.”