The Palaszczuk Government has announced it will partner with Australia Zoo to deliver an $8 million wildlife camping experience on the Sunshine Coast.
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the late, great Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo would receive support through the government’s Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund to build ‘Camp Croc Hunter’.
Ms Jones said while the Coast was known for its beaches and other major attractions, the new ‘Camp Croc Hunter’ project would give domestic and international tourists another reason to visit the region.
“The recent Governing from the Sunshine Coast highlighted how important the tourism and hospitality industries are to the Sunshine Coast,” Ms Jones said.
“That’s why we need to support the local tourism industry.
“There’s another 4000 jobs on the Sunshine Coast compared to a year ago. We want to create even more jobs.
“Australia Zoo expects the project will support up to 33 construction jobs and 43 operational jobs. It will also have a flow-on effect to boost the local tourism industry.
“When the project is fully operational, it’s expected to attract more than 39,000 annual visitors and contribute up to $4.5 million in visitor expenditure a year to the region.”
Ms Jones said the project would provide a 108-site camping ground designed to provide the full range of camping experiences.
“We’re talking about tent accommodation to caravan and RV powered sites to glamping-style tents and eco cabins,” she said.
It will also include a café, reception, entertainment and pool area, caretaker quarters and workshop, amenities blocks, covered cooking areas school camp facilities and a mountain bike pump track.
Ms Jones said the $36 million Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund was the first of its kind in Australia – enabling the government to partner with tourism operators to build new tourism attractions.
“We’re investing more in tourism than any government in Queensland’s history. This is in stark comparison to the LNP who cut $188 million from the tourism budget when they were in power,” she said.
Australia Zoo’s Dr Terri Irwin welcomed the grant from the State Government’s Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund and said it would be a great boost for Queensland’s tourism industry.
“Our tourism partnership with the Queensland Government will enable Australia Zoo to employ more people in the Sunshine Coast region, encourage visitors to stay longer and increase spending within our community which is fantastic for our local economy.
“’Camp Crocodile Hunter’ will be open in 2020 as part of our Australia Zoo 50th anniversary celebrations,” said Dr Irwin.
Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford welcomed the funding announcement as a major tourism boost for the Sunshine Coast region.
“Attending the largest travel trade show – Australian Tourism Exchange last week; we know top travel trade worldwide are seeking new and authentic tourism experiences to sell to visitors.
“People want to explore beyond the gateways and immerse in world-class nature and get up close to wildlife,” Mr Latchford said.
“Australia Zoo is a globally recognised premium tourism attraction for our region and this exciting expansion inclusive of glamping accommodation will not only entice more visitors but also convert day-trip visitors to stay longer and spend more.”
“We thank the State Government for their continued support and recognition of the Sunshine Coast tourism industry,” added Mr Latchford.