TASMANIAN Environment, Parks and Heritage Minister Matthew Groom last week announced that two more proposals have been selected to proceed to the second stage of the government's Expressions of Interest process for sensitive and appropriate tourism offerings in National Parks and the World Heritage Area.
The EOI process is part of a plan to transform Tasmania into the environmental tourism capital of the world and help reach a target of 1.5 million visitors a year by 2020. The Minister has already approved 13 projects to be assessed under the second stage of the assessment process.
A total of 37 proposals were received in response to the EOI and an assessment panel recommended that at least 24 proposals proceed to the second stage. The Minister has already approved 13 projects to move ahead to the second stage.
The high-level Stage 1 assessment considered the proposals against a number of criteria including:
- The appropriateness of the proposal to a particular site;
- The qualifications of the proponent to establish and operate the proposal; and
- The ability of the proponent to finance the proposal.
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 government is committed to being open and transparent as we progress through the EOI process. I will continue to work through the remaining proposals and the recommendations of the Assessment Panel progressively and will make decisions public as they are made," Mr Groom said.
"I remain committed to completing this process by no later than 13 March," the Minister said.
The two projects invited to proceed to stage two are:
- Recherche Bay Eco Resort – the development of a truly unique superior standard tourist eco-resort that floats, with no direct access to the land other than by boat or seaplane. The proposal is a series of seven moored pontoons, each with a two storey structure above it.
- Mt Read Ancient Huon Pine Experience – proposal for a guided introduction to the Huon pine trees of Tasmania delivered through a sensitive and carefully managed viewing of the famous Mt Read Huon pine tree, accepted as being the planet's oldest continuous living organism at 10,500 years.