Free Dain­tree nod

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - SAM SMALLBONE

TOURISM op­er­a­tors and lo­cals from the Dain­tree River are hop­ing the Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil will cut the ferry fees per­ma­nently.

Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil agreed last week to waive the ferry fees for two weeks over the Easter hol­i­days to en­cour­age more vis­i­tors to visit the re­gion.

By cut­ting the costs lo­cals hope more tourists and lo­cals will visit the Dain­tree, the world’s old­est rain­for­est, and stim­u­late the re­gional econ­omy.

Tourism Dain­tree Coast pres­i­dent Neil He­witt sup­ports the de­ci­sion and has no­ticed an in­crease of vis­i­tors in the last week.

“This is an ex­cel­lent de­ci­sion by Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil,” he said.

“Stud­ies by CSIRO showed that more than 30 per cent of our po­ten­tial cus­tomers turn away when they see the cost of the short ferry ride across the river.

“This is the only com­mu­nity in the re­gion that has a fi­nan­cial im­ped­i­ment in the form of a ferry tax and it is a cost bur­den that has af­fected our suc­cess as an eco­tourism des­ti­na­tion.”

Cape Tribu­la­tion busi­ness owner Lawrence Ma­son has also seen a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in vis­i­tors to the area since the fees were cut.

“Our café is run­ning sev­eral hun­dred dol­lars more a day,” he said.

“There are def­i­nitely more cars on the road and we would def­i­nitely like the ferry fee to be cut per­ma­nently.” the Dain­tree

Mr Ma­son un­der­stands it may be be­yond the Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil’s re­sources to fund the ferry but sug­gested that the next log­i­cal step would be to al­low res­i­dents from Cairns to travel across the river for free.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr He­witt, the com­mu­nity has been reg­u­lated into an eco­tourism econ­omy, and the global fi­nan­cial down­turn has been es­pe­cially dif­fi­cult for the res­i­dents in the Dain­tree.

“The ac­cu­mu­lated knowl­edge of the res­i­dent com­mu­nity en­hances rain­for­est ex­pe­ri­ences and ex­plained why this global trea­sure re­mains to­day and how it is pro­tected through com­mu­nity,” he said. “The lo­cals are the ex­perts, they wel­come you and your sup­port.”

See for free: the trial of a free ferry ser­vice is work­ing for

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.