Hendy Cowan

Hendy Cowan


    Report looks at Goldfields tourism opportunities (visual)

    23/08/2000 12:00 AM

    The Goldfields has a wide range of tourism opportunities which can help to diversify the region’s economy, according to Regional Development Minister Hendy Cowan.

    Mr Cowan, who released a new regional tourism strategy draft in Leonora today, said the tourism potential of the Goldfields was largely untapped.

    He said there was a growing demand by visitors to experience the unique outback, a concept which had particular appeal to city dwellers and people from smaller, more heavily urbanised nations.

    “In the past there has been a tendency to think of the Goldfields solely in terms of its mining and resource industries,” the Minister said.

    “While mining and its colourful history will always be a major selling point, ecotourism, heritage and indigenous culture can also provide a unique experience for travellers.

    “Prospects for tourism in the region are excellent, with projections that visitor expenditure will increase by $21.3 million by 2005 - an increase of 17.5 per cent.”

    Mr Cowan said the Goldfields 2000+ Plan would provide a blueprint to enable all elements of the tourism industry to plan and better co-ordinate their efforts.

    It was consistent with the aims of the State Government’s Regional Development Policy, released earlier this year, which seeks to maximise economic opportunities and encourage community aspirations in the regions.

    The draft plan is an initiative of the Goldfields Esperance Development Commission (GEDC), with support from the Goldfields Tourism Association and the WA Tourism Commission. It was prepared by consultants The Strategy Centre - Tourism Coordinates.

    “While there has already been consultation with various sectors of the industry and the community, the GEDC is keen to receive more input and ideas before the final plan is released,” Mr Cowan said.

    “The draft plan has a number of interesting suggestions as to how tourism can be developed and I urge people with an interest in the subject to obtain a copy from the GEDC.

    “For instance, in Leonora, the consultants point to the need for additional tourist accommodation and facilities if the town is to maximise the economic benefits that will flow from increased traffic flow on the Outback Highway.”

    Mr Cowan said the draft plan covered a huge area, from Warburton to Coolgardie and east to Eucla. The Esperance area is the subject of another plan, the South East Tourism Strategy, developed in 1997.

    The public consultation period is open till September 30 and the final strategy is due for completion by the end of the year.

    Media contact: Peter Jackson 9222-9595

    Goldfields Tourism Association
    Deputy Premier Hendy Cowan (right) at launch of draft Goldfields 2000+ Plan at Gwalia. Also pictured are Tom Hopkins (WA Tourism Commission), Alison Roberts (Goldfields Esperance Development Commission) and Neta Gill, executive officer Goldfields Tourism Association