Daintree ‘up with the best’
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.