Kosciusko park set for tourism ‘transformation’

Major project to transform tourism in Kosciusko National Park.

A $27 million plan to transform Kosciusko National Park into a leading tourism destination will see 46 kilometres of “the world’s best” walking trails developed at the iconic state park.

Under the plans announced by the NSW Government on Tuesday the park will be ”transformed” into an alpine tourism hub, with the development of a multi-day walk traversing the Thredbo River, Lake Crackenback and Charlotte Pass.

According to Peter Cochran, spokesperson for Snowy Mountains Tourism Australia, the development will help to address the seasonal variation in revenue growth and job stability in the area.

“The fact is there has been a trough in revenue during the summer and this boost announce by the Deputy Premier certainly will provide the necessaries in terms of infrastructure development. We see it as a massive boost for tourism in the summer,” he said.

The State Government says the plans will see the creation of scenic bike tracks, world-class resorts and dining facilities as well as backcountry camping facilities.

Hundreds of jobs for the region

Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said the initiative will create 139 full-time jobs in the region over the course of its construction.

“The development of these hiking and biking trails will ensure the region is vibrant and busy all year-round,” he said.

But it is also expected to support job growth in the area in the long-term, creating an additional 190 full-time positions once the project is delivered.

Mr Cochran said the number of jobs created is likely to surpass the government’s estimates.

“It will be way exceeded by the multiplier effect that flows down through various enterprises,” he said.

He also said the development is likely to create a number of jobs within the council.  

“The council’s support is absolutely vital, therefore creating more job opportunities within council as well as opportunities for them to expand their facilities,” he said.

A world-class tourism destination

The initiative will be split into two projects – with $17 million invested into the Kosciuszko Snowies Iconic Walk and the remaining $9.8 million slated for the development of the Thredbo Valley Track.

Mick Pettitt, director of the southern ranges branch of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service said the plans will mean the park can host long-distance mountain biking tournaments, which will enable the region to tap into niche tourism opportunities.

“Once complete, the Thredbo Valley Track will be more than 61 kilometers long, allowing for hiking and mountain biking all the way from Dead Horse Gap to Jindabyne,” Mr Pettitt said.

Overnight visitation to the Snowy Mountains region grew by 12%, latest figures show.

Decentralising tourism and attracting visitors to regional areas in Sydney also has huge environmental benefits, according to Mr Cochran.

“One of the greatest benefits of developing tourism within sensitive environmental areas such as Kosciusko National Park is that it exposes city people to the natural environment and encourages them to better manage the environment.”

Regional growth

Research earlier this year by Tourism Research Australia revealed that overnight visitation to the Snowy Mountains region has grown by a further 12.2 per cent or an additional 81,000 visitors. Tourists in the area were estimated to have spent $427 million, making tourism a key part of the region’s revenue.

Development is expected to commence as soon as October this year, with the Thredbo Valley Track Extension expected to open in 2019, and the Snowies Iconic Walk due to be completed by 2022.  

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