A TOTAL of 25 eco-tourism projects will proceed to Stage 2 of the Tasmanian Government's Expressions of Interest process for sensitive and appropriate tourism offerings in National Parks and the World Heritage Area.
With the final four projects invited to proceed to the next stage last week, Environment, Parks and Heritage Minister Matthew Groom said he has now completed the assessment of all 37 proposals submitted under the EOI process.
"While there is still a long way to go for all these projects to come to fruition, together they represent the greatest influx of tourism projects ever put forward in Tasmania, made possible simply by the Liberal Government opening the door to ideas," Mr Groom said.
"The 25 projects are distributed across all regions of Tasmania, with 10 proposed for the West and North-West, eight in the South and South-West, two in the North-East and five on the East Coast. A total of 15 projects are located in or on the edge of the TWWHA.
"The proponents who have presented these ideas include people with outstanding established credentials in eco-tourism.
"The scaremongering from certain quarters about theme parks, casinos and multi-story hotels in the World Heritage Area have been unfounded – as we said they were from the beginning.
"We have 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. We want to give more Tasmanians and visitors the opportunity to experience our unique, world class wilderness areas," the Minister said.
Stage 2 involves a more rigorous assessment of each proposal. 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 statutory approvals as required under existing State and Commonwealth law.
"It is extremely important to note that proceeding to Stage 2 does not amount to a final approval for a proposal," Mr Groom said.
"As previously announced, there are 12 proposals that have not been invited through to Stage 2 on the basis that they did not adequately meet the criteria of being sensitive and appropriate to the site in question or able to be financed and operated sustainably."
The four new projects invited to proceed to stage 2 are:
- Maydena Adventure Experience, Eagles Eyrie/Abbots Peak – a proposal to use the current Eagles Eyre infrastructure to develop a world-class mountain bike trail centre, with a range of ancillary adventure activities, which may include bush walking, zip lines, eco and sightseeing tours, and gourmet experiences.
- 'Kintail', French's Farm, Maria Island National Park – the development is a standing base camp for the proponent's four day walking tour of Maria Island and will provide accommodation for the guests. The development consists of eco cabins and outdoors kitchen / dining and retreat.
- Helicopter Landing Sites at Freycinet Peninsula & Tasman Island – this proposal is for the provision of access to Freycinet Peninsula & Tasman Island by helicopter. To facilitate this and to ensure a safe and sustainable operation, it is proposed that 3 new helipads will be built.
- Avalon Ocean Pavilion - Avalon Coastal Retreat is an existing successful, iconic tourism development. The retreat is perched on a headland, overlooking Great Oyster Bay on Tasmania's East Coast. Avalon Pavilion will build on this established, successful demand by providing a new and exciting small scale, intimate space for celebrations.