Limestone Coast key tourism assets provided investment opportunity

FUN: A playground at the Naracoorte Caves has added to the tourist appeal of the local area. Photo: Archive

FUN: A playground at the Naracoorte Caves has added to the tourist appeal of the local area. Photo: Archive

Substantial funds will soon flow into South Australia's regional tourism spaces and in its wake create new jobs, support communities and drive sustainable industry growth, including on the Limestone Coast.

The state government's $20 million Tourism Industry Development Fund announced this week comes as the industry faces its greatest challenges with bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic

In response, money will be used to upgrade SA's regional tourism infrastructure and experiences.

The $20 million fund closely follows the $5 million Nature-Based Tourism Co-Investment Fund, which forms part of the state government's 'Parks 2025 strategy'.

Announced in May, this enterprise will provide grants to organisations to partner with the government to deliver sustainable, quality tourism experiences.

Locally, both investments have the potential to generate greater benefit from the significance and popularity of the World Heritage listed site, the Naracoorte Caves, according to Naracoorte Lucindale CEO Trevor Smart.

Furthermore, he said the funds "will help uncover and promote new commercial opportunities that can be linked to and derived from the caves and position the council area as the starting or ending point for the caves experience".

In July this year, Mr Smart had shared how the council region was experiencing a steady flow of visitors after restrictions brought on by the coronavirus had eased.

He had highlighted how his backyard was fortunate to have it all from food to wine, plus unique history and plenty of attractions to visit including South Australia's only world heritage listed site - the Naracoorte Caves.

Meanwhile, the state's peak tourism body has also welcomed the major contribution.

Tourism Industry Council South Australia CEO Shaun de Bruyn says this is a "fantastic initiative" to grow the state's regional tourism economy.

"We haven't seen an investment of this nature in regional tourism for many, many years," he told Naracoorte Herald.

"It's also going to be a huge boost and positive outcomes for the Limestone Coast including Naracoorte."

This fund is expected to enhance regional infrastructure and experiences, as well as drive regional development to ensure tourism products continue to remain one of the state's key assets.

Mr de Bruyn said this is particularly crucial as SA recovers from the devastation of the summer bushfires and impacts from the coronavirus.

Importantly, he said for the Limestone Coast it means key projects - which will deliver tourism outcomes over the years to come - will have a significant opportunity to receive government support.

"It's going to lift the standard of tourism infrastructure, it's going to lift the investment opportunity for businesses to build new infrastructure and new experiences, and there's great opportunity for Naracoorte and the Limestone Coast to apply for a chunk of that money," he added.

Both the $20 million Tourism Industry Development Fund and the $5 million Parks 2025 Strategy are application based and will remain open until 2022.

Guidelines and assessment processes are available at www.tourism.sa.gov.au.

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