Re­gion turns fo­cus

Pilbara News - - News - Cally Dupe and Sophia Con­stan­tine

For years, the Pil­bara’s red rock land­scapes and pris­tine coast­line have been over­shad­owed by the re­sources in­dus­try.

But the drop in iron ore prices means heads are now turn­ing to ways to tap into the re­gion’s tourism po­ten­tial.

Speak­ing at last month’s New Pil­bara Con­fer­ence in Perth, busi­ness lead­ers agreed the re­gion had a great op­por­tu­nity to mar­ket its nat­u­ral won­ders, in­clud­ing Kar­i­jini Na­tional Park, Mu­ru­juga Na­tional Park and its rich Abo­rig­i­nal arts and cul­ture.

Pil­bara MP and Na­tion­als Leader Bren­don Grylls, the ar­chi­tect of the Roy­al­ties for Re­gions pro­gram set up in 2008 to fun­nel riches from the boom back into re­gional ar­eas, said the Pil­bara’s de­sire to diver­sify its in­dus­try was in the spot­light.

Pil­bara De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion chief ex­ec­u­tive Terry Hill la­belled tourism a game-chang­ing op­por­tu­nity for the re­gion.

“It’s iden­ti­fied as a trans­for­ma­tional op­por­tu­nity in the Pil­bara Re­gional In­vest­ment Blue­print as a ma­jor source of lo­cal em­ploy­ment that will stim­u­late re­gional growth,” he said.

“For ev­ery dol­lar spent in tourism at ho­tels, restau­rants and tours, more than 80¢ stays in the re­gional econ­omy.”

Town of Port Hed­land Mayor Camilo Blanco said tourism pre­sented the per­fect op­por­tu­nity for eco­nomic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion.

“We sup­port lo­cal busi­nesses and want to see lo­cal en­trepreneurs start up their own tourism ser­vices and we’ll do ev­ery­thing we can to get it off the ground,” he said.

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