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Australian Zip Line Canopy Tours to operate new attraction at Obi Obi Gorge
The Queensland Government has advised that Australian Zip Line Canopy Tours has been given preferred proponent status to develop the proposed Obi Obi Gorge zipline canopy tour.
Australian Zip Line Canopy Tours will now move to the next stage of developing the project at Kondalilla National Park on the Sunshine Coast.
Announcing the successful preferred operator, Queensland Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games Jann Stuckey explained that Australian Zip Line Canopy Tours has been invited to submit a more detailed proposal after meeting the Queensland Government’s environmental, social and economic criteria in stage one.
Minister Stuckey stated “the evaluation panel has identified Australian Zip Line Canopy Tours as having the best concept and demonstrated ability to finance and operate the project responsibly.
“The Hinterland business community recognises that a zipline attraction would draw more visitors and revitalise the region, which would have flow on economic benefits to the broader community.”
An EOI released in October 2013 sought experienced operators to establish a zipline ecotourism venture in Kondalilla National Park to help expand nature-based tourism in the region.
Minister Stuckey added “the Obi Obi Gorge Zipline Ecotourism proposal originated in 2009 in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Nature Based Tourism Plan when the site was identified as having real potential as a nature-based tourism destination.
“In the next stage of the process, Australian Zip Line Canopy Tours will be required to demonstrate that environmental checks and balances are incorporated into the planning, design and operation of the zipline development, and show how the proposal will deliver economically for the community.
“Subject to the concept being fully assessed through this next stage the Queensland Government, traditional owners, the Jinibara People, and Australian Zip Line Canopy Tours will work together to achieve the best possible outcome for all parties.”
Sunshine Coast Destination Limited (SCDL) welcomed the announcement, with Chief Executive Simon Ambrose stating that it was important the local community should be involved throughout the process of development, as projects such as this were very important for the future of the region.
Ambrose explained “the Sunshine Coast is fortunate to have extensive areas of wilderness within easy proximity of large population areas.
“The zipline will enable public access to the national park with minimal impact, while showcasing the area’s natural beauty and promoting the value of conservation.
“The Sunshine Coast already has an excellent track-record in balancing the needs of tourism and sustainability with the world-renowned Noosa Biosphere Reserve and the Hinterland Great Walk, and the Government will be ensuring the same principles will be applied to this proposed development.
“Our branding for the Sunshine Coast is ‘naturally refreshing’ and this project fits perfectly into that category. Adventure tourism is the fastest growing sector of the industry and has the potential to create a vast number of sustainable jobs in the region, while also introducing visitors to the natural attractions of the region.”
Ambrose said that studies undertaken had forecast that the zipline could generate over 50 full-time equivalent jobs for the region.
The tender guidelines required interested parties to take into account best practice ecotourism development guidelines, Aboriginal cultural heritage management advice and full environmental risk assessments.
The proposed Obi Obi zipline would be the first in Queensland, but would follow many other similar ‘adventure ecotourism’ projects developed in or near national and state parks across Australia.
Similar projects include the Otway Fly Zip Line in Victoria, Hollybank Treetops Adventure near Launceston in Tasmania, the Treetop Walk in the Walpole-Nornalup National Park in south west Western Australia, and the Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk in NSW. There are also much larger projects such as the Katoomba Scenic World in the world heritage-listed Blue Mountains and the Cairns Skyrail Rainforest Cableway that operate harmoniously inside parkland, encouraging visitors to appreciate the natural beauty and importance of the environments in which they operate.
13th January 2014 - QUEENSLAND NATIONAL PARK ECOTOURISM PROPOSALS MOVE TO NEXT STAGE
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