Turtle Sands Holiday Park at Mon Repos will soon be transformed into a year-round ecotourism attraction, with the sod turned and new trees planted on site during World Environment Day to mark the occasion.
The partnership project between NRMA Parks and Resorts and the Queensland Government will see a $28 million revamp to the iconic holiday destination.
Queensland Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the project was estimated to attract over 90,000 visitors and generate more than $13 million in overnight visitor expenditure a year.
“This is a terrific partnership with NRMA Parks and Resorts who see the value in delivering more quality-based tourism infrastructure, to give visitors that extra level of comfort when they come to immerse themselves in this very unique holiday experience,” Minister Hinchliffe said.
“Tourism operators tell me there’s a strong global desire for more meaningful ecotourism experiences and Turtle Sands Holiday Park ticks all the boxes, while creating over 70 good construction and operational jobs,” he said.
Mon Repos is home to the largest colony of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland, including the most significant nesting population of the endangered loggerhead turtle in the South Pacific region.
The overarching vision is to create a tourism experience that is both a great year-round holiday destination and a unique nature and cultural experience.
NRMA is already working closely with Gidarjil Development Corporation to plan a program of cultural experiences and considered nature encounters.
NRMA Parks and Resorts CEO Paul Davies said the preservation of this unique natural location, a critical nesting ground for one of Australia’s most important marine animals, was key to its operation.
“The new Turtle Sands will offer an immersive accommodation tourism experience celebrating and supporting the conservation of marine turtles in their natural environment,” Mr Davies said.
“The NRMA recognises the responsibility in working adjacent to the environmentally sensitive Mon Repos Conservation Park and a comprehensive set of Federal, State and Local Government environmental and design approvals guidelines are in place for the development.
“The design and operation of the Turtle Sands Holiday Park will adopt best practice environmental standards to protect this unique location, especially during the nesting season for turtles, including night-time light controls and restricted beach access.”
Mayor Jack Dempsey congratulated the NRMA at the official sod-turning event.
“It's very significant to be here on the 50th World Environment Day to turn the sod for a new NRMA facility, with members from our indigenous community and tourism sector coming together to celebrate,” he said.
“As we look over the beach we see waves of change and oceans of opportunities ahead for this exciting project, for new tourism ventures and for more cultural opportunities.”
Included in the plan is an interactive education program and guest activities that encourage participation in hands-on conservation initiatives.
Essential to the plan for the destination to have year-round appeal for guests is the consistent protection of the dunes and rookeries where the turtles nest.