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Ecotourism project gets boost with funding

turtle sands nature retreat

The refurbishment of the Turtle Sands Nature Retreat at Mon Repos is one of six ecotourism projects to share in $9.2 million funding.

State Government-backed ecotourism projects are predicted to generate nearly $64 million each year for Queensland’s visitor economy.

The Activate Ecotourism Infrastructure initiative is investing $9.2 million in six projects, including refurbishment of the Turtle Sands Nature Retreat at Mon Repos, designed to encourage an extra 196,000 visitors to enjoy more of Queensland's great lifestyle and support good Queensland jobs.

Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith said the refurbishment of the Turtle Sands Nature Retreat at Mon Repos had generated almost three dozen jobs.

“The loggerhead turtle nesting grounds at Mon Repos are one of the world’s unique, premier ecotourism experiences, and they’re in our own backyard,” he said.

“Turtle Sands’ transformation will create a responsible, genuine ecotourism experience that supports turtle conservation while generating 34 ongoing jobs and $13 million for the Bundaberg region’s visitor economy.”

The Queensland Government’s $9.2 million in co-funding support will leverage $76 million in private ecotourism investment.

Incentivising investment in ecotourism is a key element of Queensland’s Toward Tourism 2032 roadmap to increase the size of the State’s visitor economy to $44 billion.

Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon Activate Ecotourism was part of the new Ecotourism Plan for Queensland’s protected areas.

“The plan’s focus is the ongoing preservation of Queensland’s national parks and world heritage areas,” she said.

“It also includes supporting new ecotourism projects adjacent to protected areas by re-using developed and already-degraded land.”

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Activate Ecotourism Infrastructure initiative was an important commitment to accelerate Queensland tourism’s Covid recovery.

“Demand for ecotourism and nature-based visitor experiences is taking off globally and our great Queensland lifestyle gives us the head start to become an international leader,” he said.

“The ecotourism projects we’re backing are near protected areas to make it even easier for visitors to enjoy Queensland’s unrivalled natural assets.

“Diverse visitor experiences are critical to rebuilding Queensland’s international tourism industry.”

The six co-funded ecotourism projects are:

  • The refurbishment of the Turtle Sands Nature Retreat at Mon Repos
  • A luxury walkers’ camp on freehold land at Binna Burra, adjacent to Lamington National Park
  • An outdoor tourism hub in the Pioneer Valley near Mackay
  • Construction of Jarramali Indigenous Rock Art stays on Cape York
  • An upgrade of the Carnarvon Gorge Holiday Park including new ecotourism accommodation and restaurant with a renewable power system
  • Nature-based luxury glamping pods and eco-lodgings with conference, events and beach club facilities on South Stradbroke Island

It’s anticipated the six ecotourism projects will together support 338 construction and 235 operational jobs.

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