AFTER receiving 37 expressions of interest from investors and tourism operators to develop new tourism infrastructure in the state's National Parks and World Heritage Area, the Tasmanian Government has announced the first of the proposals to proceed to the next stage of the assessment process.
In a statement last week, Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage Matthew Groom revealed that 13 projects have so far been approved to be assessed under the second stage of the government's Expressions of Interest process.
"The Liberal Government has a goal to transform Tasmania into the environmental tourism capital of the world to create jobs for Tasmanians and help reach a target of 1.5 million visitors a year by 2020," Mr Groom said.
Earlier in the month, an assessment panel provided the Minister with recommendations that 24 proposals proceed to the next stage, with further information being sought on another two proposals.
"I committed to working through the proposals and recommendations of the Assessment Panel and make decisions public as they are made. This process will be completed by no later than 13 March," Mr Groom said.
"It is extremely important to note that proceeding to Stage 2 does not amount to a final approval for a proposal," he added.
Stage 2 involves a more rigorous assessment of each proposal and for successful proposals, negotiations will then be entered into for appropriate lease or licence arrangements. Successful proponents will also be required to obtain all other necessary approvals as required under standard State and Federal planning and approval processes.
The 13 successful projects are:
- Blue Derby Pods Ride, North East Tasmania – A proposal to utilise the newly developed mountain bike trails in the north-east of Tasmania for a premium three-day mountain biking experience.
- Tasmanian Boat Charters South West Signature Experience – proposal to construct a purpose built 19.4-metre vessel for accommodation and for exploring the Port Davey and Bathurst Harbour areas, as well as other locations around Tasmania.
- Narawntapu Adventures Precinct, Narawntapu National Park – Development of an activity base at Narawntapu National Park by extending the existing horse trails.
- South Coast Track Huts Walk, South West National Park – The development would involve the construction of five environmentally sensitive huts located at strategic sites along the South Coast Track approximately one day walk apart.
- Flinders Island Crossing – The Flinders Island Crossing is a concept for a coast to coast walk over five days taking in the scenic wonders and life of Flinders Island, Tasmania.
- Dooloomai Youth Project, Arthur Pieman Conservation Area – Multi day accommodated walk starting at Pieman Heads and completing at Sandy Cape.
- Bunkers Big Wave Base Camp, Goat Bluff, South Arm – Development of a Bunkers Surf Camp and Interpretation Centre through restoration of existing remnant of significant World War 2 defence bunkers and trenches.
- World Heritage Cruises, Gordon River – World Heritage Cruises proposes to develop a pioneering Gordon River eco-tourism experience, where visitors have the option of accommodation and light adventure activities on the river and the opportunity to be "immersed" in an all-encompassing wilderness experience.
- Trees Adventure, Mount Field National Park – Trees Adventure proposes to design, build and maintain up to eight individually designed adventure challenge courses over five different levels of difficulty in the Mount Field National Park.
- Tasmanian Walking Company, Walls of Jerusalem Lodge Walk – A new four–day guided hut and lodge-based bushwalk within the Walls of Jerusalem National Park.
- Tasmanian Walking Company, Overland Track Experience – A second hut-based guided walk along the Overland Track, with six huts along the track to be carefully sited, and have external finishes designed to minimise visibility from surrounding peaks and tracks within the National Park.
- Tasmanian Walking Company, Cradle Base Camp Experience – A new overnight guided lodge-based bushwalk within the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park.
- Tasmanian Walking Company, Frenchman's Cap Walk – Proposal for a Four–day guided permanent camp-based bushwalk within the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park – the Frenchman's Cap Walk.