Opportunities for tourism
A study into the most promising tourism opportunities in the City of Karratha has come back with five main ventures for the council to pursue.
The Karratha Tourism Ventures Feasibility Study identified eco-tourism on Dampier’s islands, watersports, indigenous cultural tourism, a specialised events unit and a “mining hall of fame” as the specific projects with most investment potential for the City.
They were chosen from an original 52 options, based on criteria including market appeal and cost.
City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said the recommendations would help focus their future tourism efforts.
“We know we have a stunning natural environment and a number of unique local experiences that can form the basis of a thriving local tourism industry,” he said.
“Now it’s up to our local tourism operators and budding entrepreneurs to look at these opportunities and see if they can make them commercially successful.”
Former Dampier tour operator Lou Rinaldi, who has twice tried to establish tourist accommodation on the archipelago islands, said there is “plenty of interest” in island ecotourism but strict environmental regulations are a major obstacle.
“The market for it is huge,” he said. “There’s a million things you can do, but first you have to have the ground.
“DPaW have a chokehold on the islands at the moment.”
Ngurrangga Tours operator Clinton Walker, who is the Pilbara’s only Aboriginal tour operator, said there was also a strong market for cultural tourism in the City of Karratha.
“In the peak season, it is full-on,” he said.
“We get a lot of interest from people travelling through and wanting to do tours.”
He said the market’s seasonal nature could discourage potential operators.
The study recommendations will now go to the City’s Tourism Advisory Group for further consideration.
Ngurrangga Tours founder Clinton Walker above Karratha.