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Victorian Government gives approval for Wilsons Promontory scenic cruises
The Victorian Government has given Pennicott Wilderness Journeys the opportunity to operate ecotourism cruises in the waters off Wilsons Promontory National Park.
The nature tourism operator will operate three 30-seat boats from Tidal River and on to Norman Beach and then straight into the surf in a venture expected to generate nearly $10 million annually for the local economy and to employ up to 30 people.
Victoria’s Minister for Tourism and Major Events John Eren said the new venture will bring more visitors to the region, create 30 full-time local jobs and generate up to $9.7 million for the local economy each year.
Minister Eren stated “this new experience will open up Wilsons Promontory like never before – and it means more visitors and more local jobs. Local business will also reap rewards, with extra tourists in the region spending their valuable tourism dollars on food, gifts and accommodation.”
Parks Victoria Chief Executive Matthew Jackson said the plans had been heavily scrutinised by independent experts.
Jackson advised “once we had the proposal from Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, we made sure we had independent expert environmental advice on any potential impacts commissioned in addition to our own internal advice.”
Conservation groups have raised concerns the cruises will disturb other visitors to one of the park's most popular beaches and will put the ecosystem at risk.
Victorian National Parks Association spokesman Phil Ingamells said Wilsons Promontory was becoming overcrowded with visitors during summer, and the addition of boat tours would add to the problem.
Ingamells told the ABC “in summer now we have 1,500 and 2,000 cars sometimes arriving at the Prom; they're parking all over the place and its spoiling the experience for people.
"There are various ideas put forward as to how you deal with that and how you work through that but that hasn't happened.
"Now we're getting something that's actually designed to promote and encourage more people to come in."
Named an Australian Tourism Legend at the 30th Annual Qantas Australian Tourism Awards in 2015,
Robert Pennicott of Pennicott Wilderness Journeys is widely known for his and his company’s commitment to maintaining high environmental values with a reputation for protecting and promoting the environment.
Pennicott added “we've been operating now for 19 years in Tasmania and we've won a lot of awards - global awards as well as Australian awards - for the best sustainable tourism business in Australia.
"I believe that overall, we make the world a better place for having operated in it and we have very strict guidelines with parks.”
Known for its rugged granite landscapes and abundant wildlife, including kangaroos and wombats, Wilsons Promontory National Park occupies a peninsula southeast of Melbourne.
An extensive community consultation process was undertaken by Parks Victoria, including independent expert advice, to ensure the natural environment and wildlife remain protected.
Image: Pennicott Wilderness Journeys has been given approval to run three amphibious boats from Tidal River at Wilsons Promontory in Victoria. Courtesy of Pennicott Wilderness Journeys.
27th January 2016 - PARKS VICTORIA INTRODUCES BEACH WHEELCHAIR AT WILSONS PROMONTORY
16th September 2015 - VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT MOVES TO END 99 YEAR TOURISM LEASES IN NATIONAL PARKS
11th April 2015 - TASMANIA DOMINATES QANTAS AUSTRALIAN TOURISM AWARDS
12th October 2014 - NEW TOURISM ACTIVITIES IN NATIONAL PARKS THREATENS NATURAL HERITAGE
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