Steam tourism

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - BUSINESS -

IT was like a tale of two cities – well, two towns at least.

No, I’m not talk­ing about the coun­cil elec­tions!

Last week­end, the tourism block­buster that is Easter in Port Dou­glas seemed a non-event in Moss­man. It was so quiet on Sun­day night that the Bowls Club shut the kitchens early. The only pun­ters in the whole place were the real ones in the pok­ies par­lour. And yet, and yet . . . It does ex­er­cise the minds of some in­di­vid­u­als and or­gan­i­sa­tions as to how to in­crease tourist vis­i­ta­tion to Moss­man (not that Port Dou­glas can take the mat­ter for granted, ei­ther, but it is an eas­ier ask as a purely tourist town).

One way is to usher Port Dou­glas visi­tors to Moss­man, and here, dur­ing his coun­cil elec­tion cam­paign, David Carey’s idea of link­ing the Bally Hoo­ley train to Moss­man seems so full of op­por­tu­nity.

The tourism mar­ket for Port Dou­glas has in­creas­ingly been the fam­ily cat­e­gory. They need af­ford­able things to do. And enough of those things so that no one gets bored (which can be a prob­lem now).

Re-con­nect­ing the train to Moss­man has ad­van­tages all round. It adds to the of­fer­ings avail­able to tourists to Port Dou­glas, es­pe­cially fam­i­lies, and brings visi­tors to Moss­man. And pre­sum­ably it’s im­mune to cli­mate change risk.

The Moss­man Botanic Gar­dens is about creat­ing lo­cal jobs by giv­ing visi­tors more rea­son to spend time in Moss­man. Among ideas I’ve heard kicked around as part of this is the no­tion – ad­mit­tedly pretty vague – of con­nect­ing the gar­dens to the Moss­man Gorge area, by rail, en­hanc­ing the vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence.

The Bally Hoo­ley could play its part in all of this. As ever, there are many things in the de­tails that would have to be over­come. But there’s a big prize to be won.

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