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Welcome to Gasland: how to bring tourists to Gladstone

Could Curtis Island become Australia’s next tourism hot spot with interactive games, rides and island-themed merchandise?
Could Curtis Island become Australia’s next tourism hot spot with interactive games, rides and island-themed merchandise? DIGITALLY ALTERED IMAGE

ROLLERCOASTERS and water slides might be too much to hope for, but researchers have been working out how to attract tourists to central Queensland - and decided mining and industry are our biggest drawcard.

While industry theme parks might not be on the cards, they're pushing for an interactive discovery centre to help industry and tourism in Gladstone.

Meanwhile, the State Government is committing more funds for tourism in central Queensland, but Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey didn't make it to Gladstone as part of the weekend's community cabinet, after she injured her back.

But her office said three Gladstone representatives would be meeting with her as part of the second annual DestinationQ Forum being held on the Gold Coast on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The forum is part of a Queensland Government and industry partnership to seize opportunities and double annual overnight visitor expenditure from $15 billion to $30 billion by 2020.

CQUniversity researchers Professor John Rolfe and Dr Susan Kinnear will be reporting their ideas on how to increase tourism in central Queensland to the State Government.

They reviewed local and overseas mining-themed tourism ventures to see how we could attract more of the tourism market, and the researchers say a Gladstone-based interactive discovery centre - similar to Scienceworks in Melbourne - would entice and educate people of all ages.

Professor Rolfe said Gladstone's lifestyle harbour image was important to maintain, but there was also the potential it could benefit economically from a large-scale industry-tourism venture.

He likened Gladstone's situation with the Oil Sands Discovery Centre in Canada, established and run with industry and provincial government support that has seen two million visitors pass through its doors over the last 15 years.

"That would be about 50,000 people a year - and the town has the same population as Gladstone," Prof Rolfe said.

"You end up achieving a few goals out of this...interfacing with the community and tourism sector presents a positive message and helps diversify the economy."

Tourism figures:

  • Domestic visitation increased 4% for year ending March 2013
  • Interstate visitation showed good growth
  • Europe is the largest international market

Topics:  gas, gladstone, lng, queensland government, resources, tourism



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