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Aquarium investment to benefit Melbourne tourism

Aquarium investment to benefit Melbourne tourism
December 17, 2011

Melbourne Aquarium's newest underwater attraction, Sharks of Shipwreck Cove, has been partly funded by a $100,000 Federal Government T-QUAL grant (the Tourism Quality Projects program).

Featuring a full-scale replica of a shipwreck looming from the darkness of the 2.2 million litre Oceanarium, the exhibit "creates the feeling of being submerged at the bottom of the ocean surrounded by shark-infested waters," according to the aquarium's website.

The Shipwreck Cove exhibit presents a new underwater attraction with animals never seen before in Australian aquariums. The project uses the latest technology and conservation ideas to display iconic species, with state-of-the-art acrylic materials and a unique water filtration system. Interactive features include shark-feeding and scuba-dive training.

Showcasing "over 20 iconic Australian sharks never before seen in Melbourne", Shipwreck Cove exhibits White Tip and Black Tip, Dusky Whaler, Whiskery and Tawney Nurse juvenile sharks.

Speaking at the opening this week, Federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson said Shipwreck Cove was an example of innovative thinking in tourism development with potential flow-on benefits in terms of attracting visitors to Melbourne.

Minister Ferguson explained "this is an ideal vantage point for people of all ages to study the biology of these magnificent creatures and all the conservation issues that matter to their future.

"All visitor attractions need to stay ahead of the game. So we need to think creatively, to innovate and to invest. Only by offering visitors compelling reasons to experience what we offer, can we be confident of growth.

"That's why the Australian Government is investing almost $40 million in the T-QUAL Grants program. This year, we announced $8 million in funding for 112 projects across Australia.

"When you add in the dollar-for-dollar component, in effect that means at least $16 million is being invested in tourism facilities across the country. All these projects have one goal in common - to lift the quality and variety of Australia's tourism experiences.

"People will keep coming back if they know there are better, fresher things to see and do, and by helping to fund upgrades and new exhibits such as Shipwreck Cove at Melbourne Aquarium we encourage them to do just that."

For more than a decade, the Melbourne Aquarium has been offering an informative journey through the world's oceans as one of Melbourne's key tourism drawcards.

For more information on T-QUAL Grants go to www.ret.gov.au/tqual

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