11 Jul 2023

Round two funding to help more businesses activate nature tourism

The next round of the South Australian Tourism Commission’s $2 million Experience Nature Tourism Fund (ENTF) opens later this month.
Designed to showcase the state’s natural landscapes and help attract domestic and international visitors, the fund has already created new world-class tourism products and experiences this year.
Round one of the ENTF saw a total of $485,800 allocated to 18 projects, with a project value of $824,000. The projects included accommodation refurbishments, purchases of new vehicles, and marketing including content creation.

Grants will be available from $10,000 to $50,000 for new and improved nature-based tourism products and experiences in or near a national park, reserve, wilderness protection area or marine park.

Funding is available via two streams:

  • Stream 1 – Quick Activation Projects with grants available from $10,000 to $20,000 (provided for projects that are ready to be activated).
  • Stream 2 – Innovative Development Projects with grants ranging from $20,001 to $50,000 (provided for bigger projects which may have a longer duration and multiple elements).

Projects must comply with the statutory management plan for a particular park or reserve, demonstrate care and consideration of the natural and cultural heritage of the proposed site, and operate in accordance with licence requirements set by the Department for Environment and Water (DEW). If the project enters a national park, applicants must have in-principle support from DEW prior to commencing an application.

There are four rounds of funding available through the Fund, with $500,000 available each financial year over four financial years, commencing from 2022-23.

Private sector businesses, not-for-profit organisations, and community associations across the state are eligible to apply.

Round two applications will open on Monday 31 July and close on Thursday 14 September 2023.

The establishment of the $2 million fund was an election commitment to activate nature-based tourism. The SATC administers the fund in partnership with the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) and the South Australian Government Financing Authority.

For full details, visit tourism.sa.gov.au/support/grants-and-funding/experience-nature-tourism-fund.  

Minister for Tourism, Zoe Bettison said it is terrific to announce the application dates for round two, which is going to go even further towards building a suite of nature-based tourism experiences and make South Australia more competitive in driving domestic and international tourism.

"In round one, we saw some incredible products come to fruition – like a sailing journey to marine parks, a cultural immersion experience, luxury camping experience and e-bike tours at Cleland Wildlife Park," Minister Bettison said. 

"We already know there are many operators out there who want to showcase our national parks and develop new products, and this grant program helps bring these ideas to life."

Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary and Resort General Manager, Vicki-Lee Wilson said by introducing a new overnight camping experience at the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, it will allow visitors to slow down, see some more of the Ridgetop area with its beautiful and interesting geology, be out there when the light is best, and animals are more active… and experience the spectacular sky in a very, very dark place.

"The Experience Nature Tourism Fund helped us to better define the visitor experience and plan the project – as well as help funding as part of our upgrade program!," Ms Wilson said. 

"We hope that the Ridgetop Sleepout will become our showcase experience and attract visitors, not only to Arkaroola, but to other operators along the way so that they experience the beauty and variety of the Flinders Ranges and Outback.

"We hope that experiencing the beauty and significance of nature though educational experiences helps us all to value and support conservation efforts for the future."

Southern Ocean Walk owner and operator, Barry Duykers said the Southern Ocean Walk represents a profound opportunity for guests to experience some of South Australia’s most spectacular natural scenery.

"It epitomises nature-based tourism at its best," Mr Duykers said. 

"The assistance we received through the Experience Nature Tourism Fund for additional equipment has further enhanced the immersive experience for our guests while additional marketing assistance has helped promote the walk to a wider audience."