One of the best walking tracks on the continent is now open to the public in the Whitsundays as part of a new initiative jointly funded by the Queensland and Australian Governments.
Federal Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Steven Ciobo welcomed the new short walk infrastructure, opening less than one year after Tropical Cyclone Debbie made landfall in the Whitsundays.
“I’m pleased the new walk will help tourists discover more of the Whitsundays,” Minister Ciobo said.
“Around 70 per cent of international visitors to Australia already enjoy an ocean-based experience during their trip, so it’s great to have another attraction to motivate travellers to visit the region,” he said.
“The Turnbull Coalition Government recognises the importance of Queensland’s tourism sector, especially for the Whitsundays, and that’s why we’ve jointly funded this crucial project.”
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the new Langford Island walking track was developed under the joint $7 million Tourism Recovery Fund set up to help the region recover from Tropical Cyclone Debbie.
“After Tropical Cyclone Debbie we put a strategy in place to help our tourism operators recover,” she said.
“This track along with several other under construction in the Whitsundays are an important part of our strategy to help the region recover.
“We know international tourists are after unique experiences and you can’t get anything more unique than the beauty of the Whitsundays - it’s walking tracks like the one on Langford Island that showcase Queensland at its best.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to developing Queensland tourism. That’s why we’re investing an extra $134 million in this sector in this term of government including $25 million to rejuvenate the Great Barrier Reef.”
Ms Jones said the Langford Island walking track took visitors to a lookout with great views across Langford Passage.
“There are few places in the world that can match this lookout for natural beauty,” Minister Jones said.
“Photo opportunities like these make a big difference to visitors and we know that opening up our islands with projects like this will drive tourism to the region.”
Two more short walks, one on Haslewood and one on Border Islands, are due to be complete by mid-2018.
An expanded Hill Inlet Lookout on Whitsunday Island will be ready for visitors by the end of this year and will complement a $2.78 million walking track development connecting Whitehaven Beach to Tongue Point.
Queensland Assistant Minister for State Development Julieanne Gilbert said projects like the one announced today were vital in the final stages of the cyclone recovery effort.
“The opening of the Langford Island walking track marks a new phase in the development of Whitsundays tourism – Cyclone Debbie is in the past and we’re on the front foot, creating opportunities that local operators can capitalise on,” she said.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to growing regional tourism and will invest $36 million in grants to help operators develop new attractions in the regions.
“This program will assist communities to grow tourism by developing new and improved tourism experiences or products and develop tourism industry capability.”
Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen was pleased to hear that the cyclone recovery work was complete on Langford Island.
“This is part of the vital funding for tourism infrastructure projects in Proserpine, the Whitsundays and Bowen to help the region recover from Cyclone Debbie and to ensure our local economy is not robbed of tourism dollars as a result of damage to natural assets and tourism infrastructure,” Mr Christensen said.
Tourism Whitsundays CEO Craig Turner said local tourism operators would be excited to see the new walking tracks open to the public.
“We are well-known for our reef and island experiences and island walks such as this will further drive visitation and, importantly, length of stay, as there are more things for people to do while here, with a more diversified tourism experience,” he said.
Charter boat operators in the Whitsundays, including Allen Grundy of Explore Whitsundays, are also excited about the new walks being built.
“With new walks on Langford Island, Border Island, Haslewood Island and Whitsunday Island, ranging for easy and short, to difficult and long, the Whitsundays has an island walk for all levels of visitor,” Mr Grundy said.
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