Australia

$233m for national park upgrades to attract holiday-makers

Australia’s iconic national parks are set for a makeover with $233 million in federal funding being invested to lure families forced to holiday at home during the pandemic. The move is a shot in the arm for the tourism industry and is expected to create more than 1000 jobs in regional and remote communities.In the…

Australia’s iconic national parks are set for a makeover with $233 million in federal funding being invested to lure families forced to holiday at home during the pandemic.

The move is a shot in the arm for the tourism industry and is expected to create more than 1000 jobs in regional and remote communities.

In the Northern Territory, Uluru-Kata Tjuta will receive $51 million for major upgrades to its cultural centre, viewing platforms and walking tracks.

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Millions will also be splashed at Kakadu National Park’s Aboriginal cultural centre and campgrounds, including better fresh water storage.

Roads will also be repaired, staff housing refreshed, fuel storage and supply facilities improved.

“New and improved infrastructure means more tourism, more jobs and better outcomes for Australians living in regional and remote areas, which is vital as we move through the economic challenges of COVID,” Environment Minister Sussan Ley said.

Holiday-makers heading to the white sand at Jervis Bay, NSW, will benefit from a new visitor centre, campground amenities, and upgrades to Murrays Beach Boardwalk and boat ramp planned at Booderee National Park.

The funding will enable a new viewing platform for bird watching at Christmas Island’s Margaret Knoll Lookout, and projects at the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra.

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said over half of all domestic overnight holidays made by Australians involved outdoor or nature-based activities.

“We also shouldn’t underestimate the huge positive flow-on effects increased visitation to the Parks could have on the surrounding regions,” he said.

“Every extra visitor has the potential to inject more tourism dollars into these regions by visiting other attractions, sleeping in local hotels and dining in local restaurants.”

The nation’s peak tourism operators have today welcomed the $233 million announcement.

Tourism & Transport Forum CEO Margy Osmond said it came at a critical moment for Australia’s regional tourism recovery.

Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia chief executive Grant Hunt said the upgrading of visitor facilities within Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and essential infrastructure in the Muṯitjulu community was great news for visitors and for the Anangu artists and businesses who base themselves there.

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