Beauty of Central Highlands keeps visitors returning
THE picturesque and serene Central Highlands is keeping visitors and tourists coming back for more.
Central Highlands Development Corporation tourism development co-ordinator Paul Thompson said tourism contributes significantly to the region and provides it with an extra revenue stream alongside primary production.
“Tourism is worth about $235 million to the Central Highlands,” he said.
“It’s a key pillar of the area. It’s an ongoing and a growing sector of the economy and it diversifies the region.”
He said the visitor economy is based mainly on nature-based activities.
“People are coming to see many, many things,” he said.
“There are beautiful water holes and scenic views.
“Carnarvon Gorge is one of the key experiences to have, with fantastic walks and indigenous cultural aspects. Other areas such as Blackdown Tablelands are great, especially at this time of year when it’s a lot cooler there.”
But it’s not all about adventures in national parks. Mr Thompson’s favourite spot has a touch of the romantic.
“The Gemfields are great for fossicking, treasure hunting, and underground mine tours.
“In Emerald you have the botanic gardens, the mosaic art trail, the giant easel, and the art gallery and historical train station – visitors are coming for a range of different things.
“But the number one place for me is probably sunset at Lake Maraboon.”
Mr Thompson said these experiences are great for older folk, families, visiting friends and relatives, business workers, and anyone travelling with sporting clubs for tournaments and carnivals. And the industry is steadily expanding.
“A few years ago it was worth about $170 million,” Mr Thompson said.
“So it continues to grow and we’re trying to extend the visiting season.”
A forum hosted by CHDC on November 27 in Emerald will focus on tapping into the visitor market, allowing government, businesses, and experts to network and familiarise themselves with the region’s offerings.
“We’ve got some great speakers coming along and sharing their knowledge,” Mr Thompson said.
Tickets are available at chdc.com.au.