All tourists benefit regional economies
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.