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Open a nature-based tourism business in a national park, garden or heritage site

Sea Lion, Eyre Peninsula
Hon Ian Hunter MLC
Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation

Hon Leon Bignell MP
Minister for Tourism

For the first time, South Australia’s national parks, gardens and heritage sites will be open for businesses and entrepreneurs to develop nature-based tourism ventures that will entice interstate and international visitors.

The State Government has identified 18 unique sites and is inviting proposals for business opportunities such as eco-sensitive accommodation, adventure tours, cafés, cellar doors or guided walks.

Suggested opportunities include:

  • Open a nature-themed café at Morialta Conservation Park, right next to the popular new playground;
  • Operate remote island adventure on Neptune Islands Conservation Park off the coast of Eyre Peninsula;
  • Lead mountain bike tours at Mount Lofty Parks;
  • Develop Old Government House in Belair National Park into a unique accommodation or event venue;
  • Showcase South Australia’s first lighthouse by offering accommodation and tourism experiences at Cape Willoughby Conservation Park in Kangaroo Island;
  • Operate a unique tourism experience at Fort Glanville or at the Old Adelaide Gaol;
  • Revitalise Cantara Homestead in Coorong National Park into a B&B or a tour venue;
  • Establish a business in Mount Lofty Botanic Garden.

Expressions of Interest close 5pm, 31 January 2018, and some proponents may then be invited to provide a more detailed proposal.

Background
South Australia’s tourism industry is worth a record $6.3 billion and is on track to reach $8 billion by 2020.

In 2016 the State Government released the Nature Like Nowhere Else nature-based tourism strategy and action plan, a joint initiative of the Department for Environment, Water and Natural Resources and the South Australian Tourism Commission aimed at capitalising on the state’s unique appeal and its outstanding potential for nature-based tourism.

A key action in the strategy is to create cutting-edge nature-based tourism attractions in partnership with the private sector, harnessing the enormous economic potential of South Australia’s unforgettable parks and wildlife.

Further information on each opportunity and the evaluation process, including the Nature-based tourism – New business opportunities 2017-18 expression-of-interest document, is available at www.parks.sa.gov.au/newbusiness

The development opportunities follow on from other newly created nature-based tourism partnerships with the private sector, including the Oceanic Victor in-sea aquarium at Granite Island Conservation Park, the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail and diving with great white sharks at Neptune Islands Conservation Park.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Ian Hunter
I am pleased to release this exciting package of nature-based tourism opportunities for expressions of interest and look forward to seeing creative proposals to help us enjoy our beautiful parks, gardens and heritage sites in new ways.

These opportunities will be of interest to a range of businesses and will give people with creative ideas the opportunity to establish new businesses in unique places.

I expect this make our beautiful parks and heritage sites even more attractive places to visit and make it easier for South Australians and visitors to connect with nature.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Tourism Leon Bignell
South Australia has a thriving tourism industry with 6.5 million visits to the State in the past year alone. We want to continue to grow the local tourism industry, which is why we pumped an additional $70 million into marketing South Australia interstate and overseas and nature-based tourism is an exciting way to attract new visitors.

We know seven out of 10 South Australians visited a national park in the past 12 months. This strategy aims to also draw our interstate and overseas visitors to our natural sites through tourism ventures which currently do not exist.

I encourage anyone with innovative ideas to take advantage of this new initiative and I look forward to working with them to progress our vision for nature-based tourism in South Australia.

Quotes attributable to General Manager, South Australian Tourism Industry Council, Shaun de Bruyn
This is a fantastic initiative to build on our already world class, nature-based tourism experiences and further position our State as a growing tourism destination of choice.

One of the key policy priorities for the tourism business community is the development of nature-based tourism, we are and will continue to actively work with the government to develop nature-based tourism business opportunities within South Australia.

We strongly support this initiative and encourage businesses to get involved and pitch for South Australia’s new nature-based tourism business opportunities.

Current South Australian nature-based tourism success stories
Here’s how businesses are partnering with the South Australian Government to create exciting nature-based tourism experiences in our parks:

Oceanic Victor – Granite Island Conservation Park
Oceanic Victor operate one of South Australia’s newest nature-based tourism attractions, an in-sea aquarium one hour from Adelaide. The business offers interactive experiences that are boosting tourism while also fostering an appreciation of South Australia’s high quality seafood, unique marine wildlife and wonderful marine parks. Operations within the park have been facilitated by the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources through a lease within Granite Island Conservation Park.

Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail – Flinders Chase National Park
The Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail has been created through a $5.5 million investment by the South Australian government. Since opening in 2016, the trail has become a uniquely South Australian experience with an international profile. From the beginning it was designed to create opportunities for the private sector. The Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources is currently conducting a process to select the business that will be offered an exclusive opportunity to develop eco-sensitive accommodation on the trail.

Diving with great white sharks – Neptune Islands Conservation Park
Diving with great white sharks is a distinctively South Australian experience that contributes approximately $10 million to the state economy and supports over 70 jobs. Licensed tour operators work in partnership with the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources to ensure that tours have a minimal impact on the park while also building support for marine conservation and the protection of great white sharks. In 2017, the department extended the term of licences to 10 years providing greater certainty for operators and establishing a solid foundation for further investment into the industry.