The State Government has shortlisted three firms to deliver the Cooloola Great Walk – a world-class ecotourism attraction set to create jobs and pump millions into the Sunshine Coast economy.
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones today announced the three firms shortlisted were:
- Tourism Noosa
- World Expeditions
“Cooloola is one of the most beautiful places in Queensland – we want to share this slice of paradise with more tourists from around the world,” Ms Jones said.
“Ecotourism is a booming sector globally. With a world-class eco experience here at Cooloola, we’re helping Sunshine Coast businesses tap into this sector.
“People come to Queensland for its natural beauty and we know eco and adventure tourists stay longer and spend more money when they visit. That’s why it makes sense for us to invest in ecotourism.
“By unlocking these natural wonders we know we can also create hundreds of jobs on the Sunshine Coast and pump millions of dollars back into our economy.
“This is about the state working with the private sector, Traditional Owners and local councils to further protect and promote our world-class parks and new ecotourism opportunities.”
Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the Palaszczuk Government is looking to these proponents to deliver detailed proposals that respect the unique natural environment of Cooloola Great Walk.
“We need to make sure we protect, enhance and maintain our natural and cultural assets through the delivery of low-impact ecotourism experiences,” she said.
“The government will conduct ongoing community consultation with locals during all phases of this project.
“The Government is also committed to working with Kabi Kabi First Nations peoples who will be involved in the Request for Detailed Proposal phase through several workshops.”
The EOIs were a follow-on from thorough public consultation first completed in September 2016, after which the government released the Queensland Ecotourism Plan 2016-2020.
Member for Noosa Sandy Bolton said the Cooloola Great Walk aligns with the aspirations of the Noosa community for visitors that enjoy unique nature based experiences.
“The Walk is an opportunity to share what we already know…Noosa is a magical destination for those who want to get back in touch with self, and with the landscape,” she said.
“That’s what makes this project such a positive initiative – reconnecting people to the outdoors and disconnecting from stressors, including the laptop.
“In working closely with the State Government to support projects like this, I look forward to seeing the wellbeing benefits for Noosa and those who visit our home in the years to come.”
This process better positions Queensland to capture the socio-economic benefits associated with the increasing demand for nature-based and adventure tourism opportunities.
Kabi Kabi representative Brain Warner said the Traditional Owners of the land were proud that the project would allow more people to enjoy the Cooloola Great Walk.
“The objective of the Cooloola Great Walk is to provide an authentic eco tourism cultural product to allow Domestic and International travellers to experience one of Queensland's most environmentally significant and popular tourist areas with a primary focus on minimising impact on the habitat that fosters cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation of the environment".
Since concept phase, the Kabi Kabi aim to provide cultural exchanges conducted through Indigeneity for on-place learning, knowing, and spirituality in a natural wonderland.
For more information, visit www.ditid.qld.gov.au/tourism/special-projects/queensland-ecotourism-trail
Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for the Commonwealth Games
The Honourable Kate Jones