All tourists ben­e­fit re­gional economies

Field and Game - - NEWS EXTRA -

Gan­nawarra Shire in North­ern Vic­to­ria is a mecca for duck hunters but it is also being estab­lished as a hub for na­ture­based tourism.

A $1.2 mil­lion tourism hub in Koon­drook will be de­vel­oped with a $600 000 con­tri­bu­tion from the An­drews La­bor Gov­ern­ment. The hub, on the banks of the Gun­bower creek, will con­nect iconic natural as­sets around Koon­drook, Co­huna and Kerang, in­clud­ing the Gun­bower State For­est, Mur­ray River and Kerang Lakes. Tourists can en­joy au­then­tic ‘glamp­ing’ style tents, a camp kitchen and ca­noe plat­form — all linked to cy­cling tracks, ca­noe trails and the Kerang-koon­drook Rail Trail.

Ex­pected to at­tract an ad­di­tional 6000 vis­i­tors to the re­gion an­nu­ally and in­crease visi­tor nights by 1800 an­nu­ally, the hub and the fu­ture Mur­ray River Ad­ven­ture Trail will add an es­ti­mated $12.8 mil­lion in eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity.

That in­cludes pro­jected in­vest­ment in ac­com­mo­da­tion to house the an­tic­i­pated eco tourists.

Field & Game Aus­tralia was founded on a love of the out­doors and pre­serv­ing su­perb wet­land en­vi­ron­ments such as those on Gan­nawarra, so any ini­tia­tive to get more peo­ple en­joy­ing the bush is worth­while.

It is worth not­ing that hunt­ing (wa­ter­fowl and other game as well as pest an­i­mals) con­trib­utes $11 mil­lion an­nu­ally to the Kerang re­gion and for that most hunters do not even get close to ‘glamp­ing’.

What isn’t counted in that $11 mil­lion fig­ure is the value of vol­un­teer con­ser­va­tion work done by hunters.

We hope the eco-tourists flock to the re­gion and en­joy it as hunters have for many decades. We also hope they go be­yond just spend­ing money and ad­mir­ing na­ture, and join our ac­tive con­ser­va­tion ef­forts.

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