Boost in tourism developments for regional areas

By: Chris Smith

Tourism in the Flinders Ranges and outback is riding high, as Tourism Minister Dr Jane-Lomax-Smith launches two developments in the

Tourism in the Flinders Ranges and outback is riding high, as Tourism Minister Dr Jane-Lomax-Smith launches two developments in the region.

Minister Lomax-Smith says the $1 million upgrade of the Wadlata Outback Centre at Port Augusta and the unveiling of new mountain bike trails at Melrose will boost visitor numbers to the region even further.

"The latest statistics show visitor numbers to the Flinders Ranges and Outback are up 9 percent, and the region is one of the State’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting more interstate and international visitors than any other SA region except Adelaide," Lomax-Smith says.

"The State Government wants visitor numbers to the region to continue to climb and has provided financial support for these two important tourism developments.

"The Wadlata Outback Centre is already one of the 10 most visited attractions in South Australia, attracting 100,000 visitors each year.

"The centre’s completed $1 million upgrade will make this "gateway to the Outback" even more important as Port Augusta’s premier tourism drawcard.

"Visitors to the Outback need to know where to go and what to do before they set out, and Wadlata provides this information through an innovative discovery centre and visitor information centre and, in addition, offers a brilliant café, gift shop and Aboriginal art exhibition.

"The whole Wadlata package is intended to encourage visitors to stay longer in the Outback, pumping more tourist dollars into its regional economies, by providing visitors with the information they need to enjoy its many stellar attractions and destinations.

"Meanwhile, the new bike trails at Melrose are part of an ongoing project, jointly-funded by the State Government, to build the southern Flinders Ranges’ reputation as Australia’s off-road cycling mecca."

Lomax-Smith says the popularity of cycling and cycle tourism is rapidly increasing in countries all over the world, and in Australia, more bikes are sold each year than cars.

"The Mawson Trail around Melrose is already very popular with mountain bike riders and these three new trails will add to the area’s appeal as a haven for cycling tourists," she says.

The Rann Government has invested $500,000 in the Wadlata Outback Centre upgrade, in partnership with the City of Port Augusta, and the Government has contributed $50,000 to a fund dedicated to building cycling tourism in the southern Flinders Ranges, including the creation of the new Melrose bike trails.

The Southern Flinders Regional Development Board, Southern Flinders Ranges Tourism Authority, the District Councils of Mount Remarkable and Northern Areas Council have also contributed to this cycle tourism fund.

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