Dain­tree ‘up with the best’

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - BUSINESS -

THE Dain­tree Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre was recog­nised as one of the Australia’s premier at­trac­tions as a fi­nal­ist of the na­tional tourism awards in Cairns last Fri­day.

The rain­for­est cen­tre was pipped at the post by the New South Wales Gov­ern­men­t­op­er­ated Lane Cove Car­a­van Park in the Qan­tas award for ex­cel­lence in sus­tain­able tourism cat­e­gory.

Owner Ron Bir­kett said he was proud that a small Dain­tree at­trac­tion had been cho­sen as a fi­nal­ist in the awards con­sid­er­ing he was up against large op­er­a­tions that were mainly gov­ern­ment-funded.

“For a small busi­ness in the Dain­tree it was a fan­tas­tic achieve­ment,” he said.

Mr Bir­kett said although around 40 busi­nesses were es­ti­mated to have closed in the Dain­tree over the past four years, the Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre had over 55,000 vis­i­tors over the past 12 months - down from a peak of over 85,000 be­fore the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

“In­ter­na­tional vis­i­tor num­bers have dropped off and we’re run­ning at about 75 per cent do­mes­tic vis­i­tors at the mo­ment,” he said.

But he re­mains op­ti­mistic with the Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre set to add an­other 120 au­dio guides up­dated to in­clude six new lan­guages in­clud­ing Man­darin and Can­tonese to­gether with an English lan­guage guide pre­sented by Eileen Walker of the Kuku Yalanji peo­ple of­fer­ing an Abo­rig­i­nal in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the rain­for­est.

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