A major study to identify tourism development sites in the Exmouth area will begin early in the New Year.
Gascoyne Minister Tom Stephens said today international investment and development consultants Jones Lang Wootton had been selected for the $125,000 study, commissioned jointly by the State and Federal Governments.
Mr Stephens said the tourism feasibility study would take about five months to examine possible sites near the town.
"The aim is to provide potential developers with the necessary information and research to enable future development to take place," he said.
"The potential of North-West Cape is enormous - it is the best undeveloped tourism region in Western Australia.
"As well as pinpointing viable sites, the study will propose Government initiatives necessary to realise that potential."
Mr Stephens said it was important for people to understand that tourism development did not necessarily mean flashy five-star hotels.
The consultants were fully aware of the environmental sensitivities of the area, and were committed to a full public information and consultation process.
They had extensive experience in similarly sensitive areas in other parts of the world, and understood the trend in international tourism towards developments that blended with rather than dominated their environment.
"I am aware of the concern of some Exmouth people about tourism development in the national park on the west coast of the Cape," Mr Stephens said.
"Clearly if this should eventuate, it would need to be low-key. Most national parks in Australia and overseas have facilities for people to stay, and these can be designed to blend with the surroundings.
"The consultants' brief is to prepare a model for development that is commercially viable and acceptable from an environmental, social, political and community point of view."