Dive in

Tourism busi­ness heads un­der sea

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

A new dive busi­ness look­ing to re­veal what lies be­neath the wa­ter around the Dampier Ar­chi­pel­ago hopes the Pil­bara can one day be seen in the same light as some of Aus­tralia’s fa­mous dive ex­pe­ri­ences.

Pil­bara Dive and Tours has started op­er­at­ing out of Kar­ratha and is tar­get­ing res­i­dents in­ter­ested in dive cour­ses and dive trips, though tourism and con­ser­va­tion are high on the list of pri­or­i­ties down the line.

Owner Natalie Cal­lanan said the div­ing around the ar­chi­pel­ago and the wider Pil­bara area was on par with sites such as the Great Bar­rier Reef and the Nin­ga­loo Coast.

“I started div­ing in 1995 as a recre­ational diver and re­ally got into it, so in 97 I be­came a dive master and worked on the Great Bar­rier Reef from Mackay for a cou­ple of years,” she said.

“The coral here is in pris­tine con­di­tion be­cause not a lot of peo­ple go out there, it hasn’t been stood on and the wa­ter is quite clear of rub­bish. At the mo­ment I have been char­ter­ing a boat with Dis­cov­ery Cruis­ing about once a month to go out to the Dampier Ar­chi­pel­ago with about eight to 10 divers.”

“I have had a cou­ple of tourists come out who have re­ally en­joyed the ex­pe­ri­ence, so I guess the more tourists I can get out, the more they will tell their friends about the Pil­bara.”

Busi­ness Cen­tre Pil­bara chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Jagger said bar­ri­ers to tourism growth in the Pil­bara such as cost of ser­vices and ac­com­mo­da­tion had been re­duced or re­moved in the past year.

“There are so few ex­ist­ing tourism busi­nesses so the em­pha­sis needs to be on ac­ti­vat­ing new en­ter­prise,” he said. “The in­gre­di­ents for new small busi­ness to com­mence in the tourism space are bet­ter than ever be­fore.”

Mr Jagger said he ex­pected about 20 new tourism busi­nesses to be up and run­ning across the Pil­bara through the Busi­ness Cen­tre’s Fed­er­ally funded Warlu Way pro­gram by the end of the year.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr Pic­ture: Pil­bara Dive and Tours

Pil­bara Dive and Tours owner Natalie Cal­lanan. IN­SET: A sea ap­ple off the Dampier coast.

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